Published by Robert Hale in 1975, 205 pages. It's currently available from Amazon UK for the princely sum of 1p!
Most unusually for an Edward II novel, The She-Wolf opens in 1325, shortly before Edward sends Isabella to France to negotiate with her brother Charles IV over the Gascon situation. It closes just after Edward III's successful coup against his mother and Roger Mortimer in late 1330.
Pamela Bennetts has an excellent understanding of the politics and general comings and goings of Edward II's reign, although sometimes she uses infodumps in the narrative to get the point across. Also, the late opening of the novel requires a lot of flashbacks in the first chapter to see Piers Gaveston, and the fact that falling in love with men is a pattern of Edward's behaviour. However, these are minor criticisms; the dialogue and characterisation are uniformly excellent.
I've never read another Edward II novel where Queen Isabella is so unsympathetic - the title is highly appropriate! Much of The She-Wolf is seen through the eyes of Isabella's attendants, who slowly come to realise that the sweet, suffering woman they adore is in fact - not to put too fine a point on it - a complete bitch, calculating, manipulative and so full of anger and hatred that she's almost abnormal. Even Roger Mortimer, who's also described as almost insane with ambition and bitterness, is frightened at what he unleashes. Isabella watches the execution of the younger Despenser and regrets that he doesn't last longer and suffer more. She is completely indifferent to her husband's murder, and the execution of her brother-in-law Kent. And yet, the reader can't help but feel sorry for her, at least in the earlier part of the novel. She genuinely yearned for Edward when they first married, and felt unclean at the thought of his relationship with Gaveston. Her frustrated love is warped and twisted until she feels nothing but hatred and contempt for her husband, and her relationship with Mortimer has nothing sweet or tender about it - it's based on lust and control.
Mortimer and Isabella are masters of propaganda here - even Isabella's reunion with her younger children in Bristol in October 1326 is stage-managed in front of a crowd to increase their sympathy for a woman deprived of her children by her heartless husband, and Mortimer only pretends to care that his wife and own children have been imprisoned, because it gives him a stronger reason to take revenge on the king and Despenser. Even Mortimer doesn't trust Isabella completely.
Edward II himself is reasonably sympathetic. At the start of the novel, he and Isabella utterly detest one another - they speak honeyed words to each other in public, while wanting to spit at and slap each other. It's a lovely portrayal of a marriage that's gone as wrong as a marriage possibly could. Although Isabella chooses to believe otherwise, and spreads vicious rumours about them, he and Hugh Despenser are not lovers here. Edward loves Despenser, but only because Despenser supports him and takes on the burden of ruling, which Edward doesn't want.
Edward III, after his father's murder - by the usual method - realises that the only way he will survive and overcome Mortimer is to bide his time, and copy his mother in hiding his true feelings and his true nature, and pretending to be meek and biddable.
In conclusion, this short novel is well worth a read, with excellent characterisation and genuine suspense near the end, as the reader wonders whether Edward III will be successful in his coup against Isabella and Mortimer - even while knowing that, historically, he was. But it's definitely not a novel for anyone who believes the recently popular 'Isabella has been unfairly maligned by history' theory!