I am frankly a little embarrassed to admit how many historical novels I’ve read about Eleanor of Aquitaine. She intrigues me. And this is one of the best I’ve come across. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.
What sets Chadwick apart from other historical novelists is her imagination and ability to make her characters so believable, even contemporary. So much so that the historical events become secondary to the narrative. For example, she writes about a conversation between Eleanor and her second husband, Henry II of England as they walk about the grounds of Fontevrault Abbey, admiring how peaceful the setting is and how it would be a good place to be buried. Their dialog is ordinary, but it’s the kind of conversation a husband and wife might have. And of course, that is where both of them wind up buried. It’s how Chadwick helps me get lost in the history and feel as though I am getting to know these fascinating historical figures.
This is the first of a trilogy Chadwick is writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine. This one covers her childhood as the rich heiress to the Duke of Aquitaine, his early death which prompts Eleanor’s marriage at 13 to the man who soon becomes King of France, the disintegration of that marriage, going on Crusade, and eventually meeting Henry, Duke of Normandy who soon becomes husband #2 and King of England. What a story! Which is why I’m eagerly looking forward to book #2.
Review of Book #2 in the Series – The Winter Crown
Review of Book #3 in the Series – The Autumn Throne