Sunday, September 25, 2011
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I don’t think I can refer to the great Aquitaine queen as simply Eleanor after reading Christy English’s fabulous novel, To Be Queen. ‘Aliénor’ was her real name and as much as this was a pleasant revelation to me (don’t you love the sound of her name), her personality also appeared refreshingly new to me as well.
Other books I’ve read based on this extraordinary queen usually portray her as (yes, definitely strong)- but also as conniving, consumed by lust, greedy and stopping at nothing to get her way...Well, in To Be Queen, you get a deeper and more amiable perspective of who Alienor might have been. I am now all the more fascinated by the Aquitaine queen after having read this book!
The story is about the young Alienor’s life all the way upto when she meets the dashing, young and exciting Henry II. It gives us a refreshing look at how she rose to become the grand queen in history as we all know. From a young age, Alienor was sharp and alert absorbing all that her father had to teach. I particularly enjoyed reading how she handled a specific scene involving her father’s mistress (you’ll have to read the book to enjoy this one;)...even as a young child she began to master her control of feelings and emotions for the grander cause of becoming ruler.
Her love of family is felt throughout- not only for her father, but especially for her young sister as well. Alienor was loyal to them always. After her father’s passing, Alienor now Ruler, was but a child raising herself and her sister. She literally barricaded herself from the world while awaiting marriage to Louis VII-lest any other man ravaged her to then claim her his own. Not surprisingly, Alienor was brilliant enough to accumulate loyal, strong and devoted followers that would fight till no end to protect her.
And what about the ‘insatiable’ side of this grand queen? Let me just say that after reading what she had to go through with her wimpy husband, Louis VII...I actually felt sorry for her most of the time! For Louis, needing an heir to France was the only reason for consenting to intimate encounters...other than that, a simple handshake would probably have brought on more physical warmth and pleasure!
I absolutely adored this book. Reading about Alienor in this light; where she is presented as a young, bright, loyal and fearless young girl to a woman who can hold her own- ready for a new passage into her life, was just perfect. All I’ve ever read about Alienor dealt with her brief marriage to Louis to then stress mostly on life with Henry- and her grandness as queen. But there’s not much out there about the ‘girl’ and how she became a woman and grand ruler in her own right. If you want to read about that, well this is the book for you. Now I’m ready for a part two by Christy English!
A fast read, fulfilling, true to the history and beautifully written. Excellent.
And now for The GIVEAWAY!!
Christy is graciously giving away 2 Signed copies!!!
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Winners Announced on Sunday, September 25th