A fabulous read. Intricate plot details, intelligent characterizations and accurate historical background makes the reader feel as though s/he were living in the time. As always, a top-notch book by one of the most intelligent writers alive. Highly recommended!
This is the follow up to "When Christ and his Saints Slept" and it's about the marriage of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. I'd always heard that their marriage was never a happy one; this book casts a different light on the story of this historical couple.
This book is about Henry Plantagenet king of England, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, Eleanor's first husband King Louis VII of France, and Henry Becket, as well as a cast of characters both real and fictional. It's a romantic, tragic story of human nature, ego, love, loss, and the ebb and flow of relations between nations in the 1100s.
Though for me the book pales in the fact of historic fact, and for me the fictional characters and their doings get in the way, still Penman writes excellent historical fiction. She's skillful and powerful, builds and interprets her characters nicely, keeping more or less to the facts of the matters, and the story is a fascinating one.
Penman's Eleanor is as tempestuous, intelligent, politically canny, and gorgeous as was the Queen herself. Penman's Henry is Henry II, and Becket is drawn large. The book perhaps is too ambitious and ranges too widely, but the book has the excitement that readers of fiction hope for.
Not sure why this took me so long to get through. Though not of the same caliber as her "Wales trilogy" this is still pretty moving IF you can get into it. This is book 2 of the "Henry and Elenor" trilogy (sorry, I'm making these names up) and seems to read as a setup for what I hope to be an exciting finale Book 3.
Sharon Kay Penman weaves a story so intriguing that history is almost unbelievable. Once you pick up her books, you are drawn in to a world with details so clear you can smell the dinners and see the elaborate gowns. This is the second in her three book series on the love story of Henry and Eleanor (of Aquitaine). She pulls you into their lives and draws the links of what transpired between the historical events. I can't wait to start the next book!