Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings…
Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”
With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.
Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.
From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history.
Jones s excellent new historical (after the prequel, White Heart) reimagines the world of 13th-century Europe and the dramatic true story of four sisters who each became queens. Their influential mother, Beatrice of Savoy and countess of Provence, arranges even before the girls births to wed them to powerful men in an effort to ensure the safety of her beloved homeland, which has long been the object of desire of warring parties. Marguerite marries King Louis IX of France, El onore weds Henry III of England, Sanchia becomes Queen of the Romans, and Beatrice assumes the crown as Queen of Sicily. Though their mother is thrilled to see her plans come to fruition, the new queens soon become mired in turmoil. Marguerite suffers under her overbearing mother-in-law, the White Queen; El onore is roundly disliked by her countrymen; Sanchia is frequently misled by her naivet ; and Beatrice grows into a power-hungry villain. As the young sisters desperately try to maintain ties to one another, the political agendas of their new homes threaten to undermine the bonds of family. Jones s impeccable eye for detail and beautifully layered plot each sister narrates her side of the story in alternating chapters makes this not only a standout historical, but an impressive novel in its own right, regardless of genre.