Monday, February 21, 2011
The Queen's Pawn by Christy English
I absolutely loved this book. Christy English effortlessly tells the story of Alais, Princess of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was such an enjoyable read, because the story was told from both sides. Not only are both Alais' and Eleanor's sides told, but the book is also written in first person, so the reader is able to get inside the character's heads in a way that one never could if the novel had been written in third person. Also, the way Christy English is able to bring the reader into the story, they are really able to understand Eleanor's feelings towards Alais. The reader is able to understand Eleanor's love for Alais, how it was much like the love one would have for a daughter, and how things changed when Alais became involved with Eleanor's husband King Henry II. This obviously created jealousy, not only because Eleanor and the King had once been deeply in love, but also because Alais was meant to be married to Eleanor and King Henry II's son, Richard.
Everything that I have read about Eleanor has pointed to the great love, ambitions, and protectiveness she had for her sons, so for her son's future wife to become her husband's (the King's) mistress was not only hurtful to Eleanor, but also to Richard. Eleanor may have been able to deal with the betrayal if she were the only one effected, but Richard was also betrayed, and so the betrayal went even deeper for Eleanor.
This was the first book that I had read about Eleanor of Aquitaine. I consider myself lucky to have read Christy English's novel about Eleanor or Aquitaine prior to any other book based on Eleanor's life. I have read novel's about Eleanor since Christy's, and none have made me feel as connected to her as this one. After reading this book I searched all over the place for more novel's about Eleanor, and I also did some research on her life, and her son's lives. I've always loved reading novel's revolving around Anne Boleyn, but now I'm reading everything I can get my hands on about Eleanor!
I also really enjoyed learning about Alais, who was a Princess of France. I have to admit I was much more interested in Eleanor, but it was intriguing to learn about a person in history who I had only come across maybe one time prior to reading The Queen's Pawn, and the mention of her was no more than a sentence or two. I adore history, so anytime I learn something new I am excited. This novel not only introduced me to Alais as an important woman in history, but also gave me insight into her side of the story during the scandal between her and King Henry II.
I would definitely recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or adores Eleanor of Aquitaine. I came across this book by chance when a website I belong to suggested it to me, and I couldn't have been happier with it. It only took me two days to read because it was impossible to put down!
I cannot wait to read To Be Queen by Christy English! Once I find an author I love, I tend to read everything I can get my hands on by them, and it will be no different with Christy's novels!