Although I have read many historical novels over the years, I never knew much about England’s King Henry III or his queen, Eleanor of Provence. That’s why I picked up this book. I shouldn’t have. Awarded two stars on Goodreads.
On the plus side, I did learn more about Eleanor and Henry. Some about the turbulent times between nobles (especially Simon de Montfort) and crown (Henry III was, after all, the son of Notorious King John), about internal family rivalries, and discrimination against Jews. I learned about Eleanor’s family of origin and that she wasn’t very popular in England. I now know who her sisters married (several became queens), what happened to her children, and that she is the only British Queen whose grave location is unknown. But the biggest plus of all is that the book is short (228 pages). Oh, and that I read it for free as part of my 90-day trial of Kindle Unlimited.
On the minus side, it’s dull. Despite the drama of the times, the author conveys little authentic emotion. She may write that a character is worried — but it’s stated rather than shown in some believable way. The narrative summarizes lots of events, including details of battles provided through long passages recited by messengers. In fact, much of it reads like bad non-fiction.
I didn’t feel the major characters were distinctive, there was little exploring of their inner thoughts, and I cared about no one. Honestly, I was eager for the book to end. I’m afraid I can’t recommend this one.
Note: This novel is Book 1 in a series by this author called “Medieval Babes, Tales of Little-Known Ladies”. Maybe that should have given me a clue.
More about the author, J.P. Reedman.