To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English (Rated: S)
New American Library
Published April 5, 2011
Trade Paperback, 400 pages
What an engrossing read! Christy
English has managed the incredible feat of taking the much-read and
written-of Eleanor of Aquitaine and bringing her alive through the
pages of To Be Queen. The author's writing is seductively seamless
and unencumbered and draws the reader in quickly and effortlessly. I
absolutely loved reading this book!
The novel covers Eleanor's life from
childhood as she is taught by her father, the Duke of Aquitaine, to
her marriage with King Louis VII, her rule as Queen, and finally, to
her annulment after fifteen years of marriage. With captivating
prose, the author sweeps the reader into the world of royalty, power,
betrayal, and treachery. Written in the first person, we experience
Eleanor's life through her eyes, her desires, her ambitions and her
losses. I especially enjoyed the journey into the Empire of
Byzantium. Again, the exotic world was easily captured and revealed
through the author's deft pen.
The character of Eleanor is so well
built that from the beginning the reader is captivated by this strong
woman who fights to rule at a time when men dominated the throne. She
encounters many enemies along the way, and I was fascinated to see
how she handled herself in the French court and partially gained her
husband's ear even though he was pulled by the corrupt teachings of
In the end, though, King Louis stood in
the way of her desire to be free to rule her own kingdom. He did not
share her ambition and remarkably, Eleanor succeeded in doing
something only men were known do to—dissolve her marriage union.
She was a woman who knew what she wanted and sought it no matter the
cost. I am always amazed at how children of royalty are really not
brought up by the king and queen at all but rather prepared by the
court to be “sold” into a marriage contract for political
alliances when barely into their teens.
I have no doubt that fans of historical
fiction will devour this one quickly. I am eagerly anticipating more
from this fascinating storyteller, and I will look to read her other
historical novel The Queen's Pawn at my earliest convenience.
Note: Although tastefully written, this
book contains three explicit sex scenes.
I will count this book for the following challenges: Historical Fiction Challenge
Disclosure: Thanks to the author for sending me this book for review. I was not told how to rate or review this product.