I really enjoyed reading about such an exceptional woman in history. I had never heard of Eleanor until PBS and this book makes me want to learn more about her and her family. Good historical content, but a little to cheesy on the romance side. Still a great read though.
Straight historical fiction, except for a few rather insignificant appearances by the ghost of the title character's grandfather....
However, in this case, the emphasis is on 'fiction,' not 'historical,' even though the author is an academician.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was a strong, scheming, politically brilliant woman of the Middle Ages, but the author makes her character's motivation behind everything she does related to an abiding childhood love. Unfortunately, this love affair is total fiction - admittedly a product of the author's imagination. This makes for a more tied-together, emotionally fulfilling plot for a novel - but it means that the actual historical motivations behind the events of Eleanor's life - a marriage to the King of France, a successful appeal to the Pope to annul that marriage, a marriage (at her request, unlike the events in the book [a kidnapping and rape]) to the King of England, and then a rebellion, involving their sons, against that king - the possible ACTUAL scenarios and motivations are not explored, because of this fictional love affair.
I found this a little disappointing, but then again, historical fiction is probably never accurate, even when it strives to be, so it's really best to take it all as fantasy!
This is an historical novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, the famous Queen of France, then Queen of England, who died in 1204 after a tumultuous life that included 17 years of imprisonment. As Duchess of the highly coveted, rich lands known as the Aquitaine (now southern France,) she was beautiful, highly intelligent and schooled in the art of governance. She went on Crusade to the Holy Land with her first husband Louis of France, then served as Queen consort to Henry II of England, her second husband. She outlived both men and all her sons (including Richard the Lionheart) but one, John, all of whom she moved as chess pieces throughout the period from about 1137 to her death in 1204. A remarkable and unusual woman to say the least, she almost certainly broke ground for women rulers.
Though written as a novel, introducing some romantic story lines not confirmed by history, the author spent almost 15 years researching the scarce extant historical materials and traveling to the original geographic sites. So if you enjoy a fine story laced with true historical facts, you will enjoy this book about an incredible woman.
Historical fiction centering on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Married to two kings, mother of two more, related by marriage to most of the ruling houses of Europe and Spain in the 12th Century, and behind-the-scenes meddler in an internecine rebellion that changed the course of European history.