This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor beginning her married life at 13.
Overflowing with scandal, passion, triumph and tragedy, Eleanor’s legendary story begins when her beloved father dies in the summer of 1137, and she is made to marry the young prince Louis of France. A week after the marriage she becomes a queen and her life will change beyond recognition . . .
Overall, I quite enjoyed this book.
I liked the way Eleanor (Alienor, as according to the author, it’s as her name appears in the Anglo-Norman texts) is portrayed and how the story, even if a bit too factual at times, was interesting to read. Bonus points for the steamy scenes (right quantity and right amount of detail: not too little, not too much) and for including that bit of speculation on her vassal (not going to include spoilers here).
Considering we know already how the ‘story’ ends as this is well-known history, then what makes the most interesting element to explore in historical fiction, in my opinion, is each character’s thoughts, reactions and feelings along with the speculative gaps. While the author did a good job, I have the certain reservations:
– The ‘Akashic records’ as she mentions in her author’s note, I am not too sure what to think of this;
– The constant focus on specific emotions to describe a character’s tone or reaction such as ‘anger’ or ‘happiness’. Basically didn’t follow the “show, don’t tell” principle, which is a shame, considering the character’s development and general descriptions were very good.
Apart from that, I thought there was a good use of the third person omniscient POV – I am impressed myself because I am usually not a fan of this type of narration, but I thought the story flowed quite well, considering we had access to many different character’s thoughts and emotions within the same chapter.
The next book in this series has been offered to me via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review and I am certainly looking forward to reading it.
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