For historical fiction readers, a tantalizing new novel from New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir about the passionate and notorious French queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.
Renowned for her highly acclaimed and bestselling British histories, Alison Weir has in recent years made a major impact on the fiction scene with her novels about Queen Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey. In this latest offering, she imagines the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the beautiful twelfth-century woman who was Queen of France until she abandoned her royal husband for the younger man who would become King of England. In a relationship based on lust and a mutual desire for great power, Henry II and Eleanor took over the English throne in 1154, thus beginning one of the most influential reigns and tumultuous royal marriages in all of history. In this novel, Weir uses her extensive knowledge to paint a most vivid portrait of this fascinating woman.
Weir (Innocent Traitor) captures the perspective of the subject of her bestselling biography, Eleanor of Aquitaine, the medieval duchess who wielded power across Europe at a time when women were required to cede all possessions to their husbands. Both of Eleanor's husbands were kings she divorced Louis VII of France to marry the soon-to-be Henry II and Weir offers a vivid history of Eleanor's second marriage, highlighting Henry's fiery temper, unflagging energy, and obsession with loyalty. Weir's portrait of Eleanor reveals a mother devoted to her children, even as they grow up to rebel; a queen dedicated to her native land, even when governed by husband or son; and a woman yearning for love. Part of a wave of fiction re-interpreting famous female figures, Weir gives a credible account of an encounter between Eleanor and the girl reputed to have replaced her in Henry's affections, and a convincing explanation of how Henry and Thomas Becket became mortal enemies. Although her style is more studied and sedate than, say, Philippa Gregory's, Weir doesn't skimp on the sex-obsessed court, and her weaving of personal and political narratives with minor details, social trends, and history-defining events creates a surprisingly modern-feeling romance.