This is a very satisfying conclusion to Elizabeth Chadwick’s three-volume tome to Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the greatest medieval queens and feminist role models of all time. Beginning with the years of her imprisonment by husband Henry II until her death at Fontevraud Abbey — The Autumn Queen spans 30 years. But don’t think that because these were Eleanor’s final years that they were anything staid and quiet.
After Henry II’s death, Eleanor is freed from imprisonment by her famous son, Richard I “the Lionhearted”, and plays a pivotal role in governing England while he goes off on Crusade. Eleanor takes on dangerous and lengthy journeys, raises a ransom to free her kidnapped son, is besieged in a tower, and grieves the loss of several of her many children, including Richard. She then goes on to provide key support to her son John’s reign (pre Magna Carta) and arranges strategic marriages for several of her grandchildren. In short, Eleanor remains the brilliant powerhouse depicted in history, up to the end.
I am a big fan of Elizabeth Chadwick’s historical novels. And this series shouldn’t be missed.