A totally engrossing book, one which covers the Plantagenet years under Eleanor of Acquitaine and her husband, King Louis of France.
Eleanor was a strong, forceful character, as different from her husband as oil and water. She created the courts of love, reviving the code of chivalry in the French nobility. Through her marriage to Louis, she virtually redrew the map of France. Eleanor was the epitome of the saying, "Behind every successful man is a strong woman." Here Jean Plaidy brings these characters and more to life with a sumptuous look at the way royalty lived in the 11th and 12th centuries.
I enjoyed this book. It was the story of Eleanor, Louis, Henry and Thomas Beckett. If you enjoy Historical fiction, it is a pleasant read. I am a huge fan of Sharon Kay Penman and have read all her books on this same story. this book is not as detailed as Ms. Penmans, but tells this fascinating story in a different way.
Wonderful book--first in the series on the Plantagenet line of kings. Great history and believable dialog.
I love historical fiction. In fact, I read HF about a third of my time. When I discovered Jean Plaidy I decided I should read a series and selected Plantagenets. However, other books became more intriguing and I kept shelving the books. When someone requested this one, I decided I should read it and called the library.
It is a good read! Plaidy makes Eleanor (English spelling) and Henry so real that I smiled when I read their conversations and quarrels.
Eleanor, who views herself as the queen of love, keeps looking for someone to love. Marrying Louis of France, she discovers that he is no where near the man she wants. He is religious, weak, and passive. She wants excitement, adventure, and more. She dallies with her uncle who is handsome, charismatic and manly. She experiments with loving an infidel (an Arab). Eventually, she discovers Henry. He isn't handsome. He isn't fastidious, rather he is a bit sloppy in his dress. And, he's a womanizer but she falls deeply in love with him.
Securing a divorce from Louis, she and Henry marry immediately. Henry becomes king of England and she, of course, is his queen. Plaidy follows their lives from that point. Eleanor revels in being adored but when Henry forms a friendship with Thomas Becket, she becomes jealous. She knows that Henry has many women but worries only when one becomes more important. When Henry brings a bastard son into her nursery she cannot forgive him. She knows that her charms are no longer enough to satisfy him. To keep Eleanor at the edge of his life, Henry wants to keep her pregnant. She cherishes her children when they are little.
I found this to be a most enjoyable book. Plaidy makes each of her characters so real. I understand Eleanor - her fury and jealousy at times. Still she loved the man deeply. He was the center of her life even when he found someone much younger. When you like history with a realistic twist even through fiction's eyes you enjoy this Plaidy novel.
This is the first in the 15-book series on the Plantagenets--immediately preceding the Tudors. The first and second volumes precisely follow The Lion in Winter film. I first got involved in the series by reading the final book, Son of Splendor, which I found very adventurous. I was a bit disappointed in the beginning books.
Story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, once the wife of King Louis of France...A love/hate relationship between Henry and his Queen.