I really enjoyed reading this novel by Alison Weir. Weir's novels are usually non fiction, but when she does right a fictional novel they are good!
This was the first book I've read about Eleanor of Aquitaine's life and family. Reading about her life has definitely piqued my interest regarding her life, and I've been looking for other books about her. I have to say that her life fascinates me as much, if not more, than Anne Boleyn's, and I've been an avid reader of Anne for years!
Anways! This book details her life from her marriage and eventual divorce to King Louis VII of France, to her scandalous marriage and eventual estrangement to King Henry II of England. It was extremely interesting to read about what a strong woman she was, especially during a time period when the opinion of women was neither listened to nor respected. She caused a huge scandal by divorcing King Louis VII and going on to marry King Henry II shortly after. She was the most powerful woman in Europe during this time, and was very well-known, for good and for bad. Reading about the love affair she initially had with King Henry II and the birth of her children, as well as her great love for her children, and then the great betrayal she felt when King Henry II fell in love with "Fair Rosamund", was enough to make it impossible to put this book down. Not only did this book tell a great story about a powerful woman, but it was written in such a smoothly flowing way, that as a reader you became completely engrossed in the novel. It had enough of a love story, drama, and betrayal to forget that you were reading a novel that was based of historical facts. I knew very little about Eleanor of Aquitaine to begin with, so this novel was even more interesting to me, because I didn't know what was going to happen next! However, by the end of the novel I had a pretty solid understanding of who she was, her life, marriage, children, and also how things ended up for her. Reading about her also helped me to become interested in the lives of her children, especially Richard the Lionheart. Weir's writing style is fantastic, and her descriptions and dialogue are effortless. I try to read every every book that Weir puts out, because I know that I'll love it!
I must say that I enjoyed Gortner's novel on Queen Juana, "The Last Queen" a little more than this novel, but I think that is because he portrayed Queen Juana in a light that I had never seen before, so it made it that much more interesting. However, reading this novel definitely interested me in Eleanor of Aquitaine, and I will be keeping my eyes open for more books that have to do with her fascinating life!