Sunday, May 25, 2014

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine Review

Title: To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Author: Christy English
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A lush, sensual novel about a queen I knew nothing about, I absolutely loved this--an intimate view of one of the most powerful women of that time! Wonderful, and well-researched! Lovely!

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, at fifteen, becomes one of the most eligible women in France after her father's untimely death. Schooled by her father in the ways of court politics, and how to inspire love in her people, her life changes forever when she catches the eye of young Louis VII, and becomes his wife, and Queen of France. But when she discovers that the price of power--her own self and happiness--she realizes that she is trapped in a loveless marriage, and trapped in a castle of those who despise her, she realizes that her own happiness may not be that far away.. If she just could fight for it..

What I enjoyed:
-The lyrical, almost musical prose of Eleanor's point of view throughout the book
-The pacing of this novel was nice--I could follow everything very well and it was quick
-Eleanor, the woman who wants power and wants to set her own path--but discovers that it might not be possible to have both--I really identified and sympathized with her--I found myself crying for her
-Louis, who in himself wasn't bad, but was good at all a good fit for our fiery Eleanor
-Eleanor's passionate lovers--I loved the way she was never afraid to go after what she wanted, whether it was power or a man
-Petra and Amaria
-I really enjoyed Eleanor's family as well, particularly her father
-The cast of characters surrounding Eleanor, particularly her enemies--it was fun to see her triumph in all things
-I really enjoyed the way everything was so well researched

What could've been better:
-At times I was full of frustration for Louis
-It was infuriating for me sometimes to read about Eleanor's "failings", particularly in childbed

Overall, I really enjoyed To Be Queen--especially the political intrigue in it! Highly recommended for historical fiction fans! Next on deck: Service Included: Four Star Secrets of an Eavesdropping Waiter by Phoebe Damrosch!

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