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Louis's long march to Jerusalem and back north, which Eleanor was forced to join, debilitated his army and disheartened her knights; the divided Crusade armies could not overcome the Muslim forces, and the royal couple had to return home. The French royal family retreated to Jerusalem and then sailed to Rome and made their way back to Paris.

While in the eastern Mediterranean, Eleanor learned about maritime conventions developing there, which were the beginnings of what would become admiralty law. She was also instrumental in developing trade agreements with Constantinople and ports of trade in the Holy Lands. Even before the Crusade, Eleanor and Louis were becoming estranged, and their differences were only exacerbated while they were abroad. Eleanor's purported relationship with her uncle Raymond, [17] the ruler of Antioch, was a major source of discord.

Eleanor supported her uncle's desire to re-capture the nearby County of Edessa , the objective of the Crusade. In addition, having been close to him in their youth, she now showed what was considered to be "excessive affection" toward her uncle. Raymond had plans to abduct Eleanor, to which she consented. Home, however, was not easily reached. Louis and Eleanor, on separate ships due to their disagreements, were first attacked in May by Byzantine ships attempting to capture both on the orders of the Byzantine Emperor. Although they escaped this attempt unharmed, stormy weather drove Eleanor's ship far to the south to the Barbary Coast and caused her to lose track of her husband.

Neither was heard of for over two months. In mid-July, Eleanor's ship finally reached Palermo in Sicily, where she discovered that she and her husband had both been given up for dead. She was given shelter and food by servants of King Roger II of Sicily , until the king eventually reached Calabria , and she set out to meet him there. Later, at King Roger's court in Potenza , she learned of the death of her uncle Raymond, who had been beheaded by Muslim forces in the Holy Land.

This news appears to have forced a change of plans, for instead of returning to France from Marseilles , they went to see Pope Eugene III in Tusculum , where he had been driven five months before by a revolt of the Commune of Rome. Eugene did not, as Eleanor had hoped, grant an annulment.

Instead, he attempted to reconcile Eleanor and Louis, confirming the legality of their marriage. He proclaimed that no word could be spoken against it, and that it might not be dissolved under any pretext. Eventually, he arranged events so that Eleanor had no choice [ clarification needed ] but to sleep with Louis in a bed specially prepared [ how?

The marriage was now doomed. Still without a son and in danger of being left with no male heir, facing substantial opposition to Eleanor from many of his barons and her own desire for annulment, Louis bowed to the inevitable. On 11 March , they met at the royal castle of Beaugency to dissolve the marriage. Hugues de Toucy, archbishop of Sens , presided, and Louis and Eleanor were both present, as were the archbishop of Bordeaux and Rouen. Archbishop Samson of Reims acted for Eleanor. On 21 March, the four archbishops, with the approval of Pope Eugene, granted an annulment on grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree; Eleanor was Louis' third cousin once removed, and shared common ancestry with Robert II of France.

Their two daughters were, however, declared legitimate.


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Children born to a marriage that was later annulled were not at risk of being "bastardized," because "[w]here parties married in good faith, without knowledge of an impediment, Archbishop Samson received assurances from Louis that Eleanor's lands would be restored to her. As soon as she arrived in Poitiers, Eleanor sent envoys to Henry, duke of Normandy and future king of England, asking him to come at once to marry her. On 18 May Whit Sunday , eight weeks after her annulment, Eleanor married Henry "without the pomp and ceremony that befitted their rank.

Eleanor was related to Henry even more closely than she had been to Louis: A marriage between Henry and Eleanor's daughter Marie had earlier been declared impossible due to their status as third cousins once removed. It was rumored by some that Eleanor had had an affair with Henry's own father, Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou , who had advised his son to avoid any involvement with her. On 25 October , Henry became king of England. Eleanor was crowned queen of England by the archbishop of Canterbury on 19 December John Speed, in his work History of Great Britain , mentions the possibility that Eleanor had a son named Philip, who died young.

His sources no longer exist, and he alone mentions this birth. Eleanor's marriage to Henry was reputed to be tumultuous and argumentative, although sufficiently cooperative to produce at least eight pregnancies. Henry was by no means faithful to his wife and had a reputation for philandering. Henry fathered other, illegitimate children throughout the marriage. Eleanor appears to have taken an ambivalent attitude towards these affairs.

Geoffrey of York , for example, was an illegitimate son of Henry, but acknowledged by Henry as his child and raised at Westminster in the care of the queen. During the period from Henry's accession to the birth of Eleanor's youngest son John, affairs in the kingdom were turbulent: Aquitaine, as was the norm, defied the authority of Henry as Eleanor's husband and answered only to their duchess.

Attempts were made to claim Toulouse , the rightful inheritance of Eleanor's grandmother Philippa of Toulouse , but they ended in failure. A bitter feud arose between the king and Thomas Becket , initially his chancellor and closest adviser and later the archbishop of Canterbury. Louis of France had remarried and been widowed; he married for the third time and finally fathered a long-hoped-for son, Philip Augustus, also known as Dieudonne—God-given. Little is known of Eleanor's involvement in these events. It is certain that by late , Henry's notorious affair with Rosamund Clifford had become known, and Eleanor's marriage to Henry appears to have become terminally strained.

Eleanor remained in England with her daughter for the year prior to Matilda's departure for Normandy in September. In December, Eleanor gathered her movable possessions in England and transported them on several ships to Argentan. Christmas was celebrated at the royal court there, and she appears to have agreed to a separation from Henry. She certainly left for her own city of Poitiers immediately after Christmas. Henry did not stop her; on the contrary, he and his army personally escorted her there before attacking a castle belonging to the rebellious Lusignan family.

Henry then went about his own business outside Aquitaine, leaving Earl Patrick, his regional military commander, as her protective custodian. When Patrick was killed in a skirmish, Eleanor, who proceeded to ransom his captured nephew, the young William Marshal , was left in control of her lands. Of all her influence on culture, Eleanor's time in Poitiers between and was perhaps the most critical, yet very little is known about it.

Henry II was elsewhere, attending to his own affairs after escorting Eleanor there. It may have been largely to teach manners, something the French courts would be known for in later generations. Yet the existence and reasons for this court are debated. He claims that Eleanor, her daughter Marie, Ermengarde, Viscountess of Narbonne , and Isabelle of Flanders would sit and listen to the quarrels of lovers and act as a jury to the questions of the court that revolved around acts of romantic love.

He records some twenty-one cases, the most famous of them being a problem posed to the women about whether true love can exist in marriage. According to Capellanus, the women decided that it was not at all likely. Some scholars believe that the "court of love" probably never existed since the only evidence for it is Andreas Capellanus' book.

To strengthen their argument, they state that there is no other evidence that Marie ever stayed with her mother in Poitiers. Polly Schoyer Brooks, the author of a non-academic biography of Eleanor, suggests that the court did exist, but that it was not taken very seriously, and that acts of courtly love were just a "parlor game" made up by Eleanor and Marie in order to place some order over the young courtiers living there. There is no claim that Eleanor invented courtly love, since it was a concept that had begun to grow before Eleanor's court arose.

All that can be said is that her court at Poitiers was most likely a catalyst for the increased popularity of courtly love literature in the Western European regions. In March , aggrieved at his lack of power and egged on by Henry's enemies, his son by the same name, the younger Henry, launched the Revolt of — He fled to Paris. From there, "the younger Henry, devising evil against his father from every side by the advice of the French king, went secretly into Aquitaine where his two youthful brothers, Richard and Geoffrey, were living with their mother, and with her connivance, so it is said, he incited them to join him.

Sometime between the end of March and the beginning of May, Eleanor left Poitiers, but was arrested and sent to the king at Rouen. The king did not announce the arrest publicly; for the next year, the queen's whereabouts were unknown. As soon as they disembarked at Southampton , Eleanor was taken either to Winchester Castle or Sarum Castle and held there.

Eleanor of Aquitaine - Wikipedia

Eleanor was imprisoned for the next 16 years, much of the time in various locations in England. During her imprisonment, Eleanor became more and more distant from her sons, especially from Richard, who had always been her favorite. She did not have the opportunity to see her sons very often during her imprisonment, though she was released for special occasions such as Christmas.

About four miles from Shrewsbury and close by Haughmond Abbey is "Queen Eleanor's Bower," the remains of a triangular castle which is believed to have been one of her prisons. Henry lost the woman reputed to be his great love, Rosamund Clifford , in He had met her in and had begun their liaison in , supposedly contemplating divorce from Eleanor. This notorious affair caused a monkish scribe to transcribe Rosamund's name in Latin to "Rosa Immundi," or "Rose of Unchastity. He may have done so to provoke Eleanor into seeking an annulment, but if so, the queen disappointed him.

Nevertheless, rumours persisted, perhaps assisted by Henry's camp, that Eleanor had poisoned Rosamund. It is also speculated that Eleanor placed Rosamund in a bathtub and had an old woman cut Rosamund's arms. In , the young King Henry tried again to force his father to hand over some of his patrimony.

Eleanor of Aquitaine

In debt and refused control of Normandy, he tried to ambush his father at Limoges. Henry II's troops besieged the town, forcing his son to flee. After wandering aimlessly through Aquitaine, Henry the Younger caught dysentery. On Saturday, 11 June , the young king realized he was dying and was overcome with remorse for his sins. When his father's ring was sent to him, he begged that his father would show mercy to his mother, and that all his companions would plead with Henry to set her free.

King Philip II of France claimed that certain properties in Normandy belonged to his half-sister Margaret, widow of the young Henry, but Henry insisted that they had once belonged to Eleanor and would revert to her upon her son's death. For this reason Henry summoned Eleanor to Normandy in the late summer of She stayed in Normandy for six months. This was the beginning of a period of greater freedom for the still-supervised Eleanor. Eleanor went back to England probably early in One of his first acts as king was to send William Marshal to England with orders to release Eleanor from prison; he found upon his arrival that her custodians had already released her.

Although Eleanor held no formal office in England during this period, she arrived in England in the company of Coutances in June , and for the remainder of Richard's absence, she exercised a considerable degree of influence over the affairs of England as well as the conduct of Prince John. Eleanor survived Richard and lived well into the reign of her youngest son, King John.

John instructed his mother to travel to Castile to select one of the princesses. Now 77, Eleanor set out from Poitiers. Eleanor secured her freedom by agreeing to his demands. She continued south, crossed the Pyrenees, and travelled through the kingdoms of Navarre and Castile, arriving in Castile before the end of January Eleanor selected the younger daughter, Blanche. She stayed for two months at the Castilian court, then late in March journeyed with granddaughter Blanche back across the Pyrenees.

She celebrated Easter in Bordeaux, where the famous warrior Mercadier came to her court. It was decided that he would escort the queen and princess north. This tragedy was too much for the elderly queen, who was fatigued and unable to continue to Normandy. She and Blanche rode in easy stages to the valley of the Loire, and she entrusted Blanche to the archbishop of Bordeaux, who took over as her escort.

The exhausted Eleanor went to Fontevraud , where she remained. In early summer, Eleanor was ill, and John visited her at Fontevraud. Eleanor was again unwell in early When war broke out between John and Philip, Eleanor declared her support for John and set out from Fontevraud to her capital Poitiers to prevent her grandson Arthur I, Duke of Brittany , posthumous son of Eleanor's son Geoffrey and John's rival for the English throne, from taking control. Arthur learned of her whereabouts and besieged her in the castle of Mirebeau.

As soon as John heard of this, he marched south, overcame the besiegers, and captured the year-old Arthur. Eleanor then returned to Fontevraud where she took the veil as a nun. Eleanor died in and was entombed in Fontevraud Abbey next to her husband Henry and her son Richard. Her tomb effigy shows her reading a Bible and is decorated with magnificent jewelry. By the time of her death she had outlived all of her children except for King John of England and Queen Eleanor of Castile. Contemporary sources praise Eleanor's beauty. When she was around 30, Bernard de Ventadour , a noted troubadour, called her "gracious, lovely, the embodiment of charm," extolling her "lovely eyes and noble countenance" and declaring that she was "one meet to crown the state of any king.

In spite of all these words of praise, no one left a more detailed description of Eleanor; the colour of her hair and eyes, for example, are unknown. The effigy on her tomb shows a tall and large-boned woman with brown skin, though this may not be an accurate representation. Her seal of c.

Eleanor has featured in a number of screen versions of the Ivanhoe and Robin Hood stories. Most recently, she was portrayed by Eileen Atkins in Robin Hood The film is about the difficult relationship between them and the struggle of their three sons Richard, Geoffrey, and John for their father's favour and the succession. In the film Richard the Lionheart: Rebellion , Eleanor is played by Debbie Rochon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Eleanor of Aquitaine Eleanor's effigy at Fontevraud Abbey.

Louis VII of France m. Henry II of England m. Battle of Mount Cadmus. Ancestors of Eleanor of Aquitaine William V, Duke of Aquitaine 8. Agnes of Burgundy sister of 18 4. William IX, Duke of Aquitaine Robert I, Duke of Burgundy brother of 17 9. Hildegarde of Burgundy Ermengarde of Anjou 2. William X, Duke of Aquitaine Pons, Count of Toulouse William IV, Count of Toulouse Almodis de la Marche 5.

Philippa of Toulouse Robert, Count of Mortain Emma of Mortain Matilda de Montgomerie 1. Eleanor of Aquitaine Gerberge de La Rochefoucauld 6. Aimery IV, Viscount of Thouars Alienor de Thouars Archimbaud Borel de Bueil Is there anything sadder than marrying a man who loves another more than he loves you? In the case of Eleanor of Aquitaine, her new husband Louis — heir to the throne of 12th century France — is more in thrall to the Catholic Church than he is attracted to her.

Like other women in her situation, Eleanor tries to seduce Louis away from her rival, hoping that Louis will eventually realize that a clever, ambitious wife is more valuable to him than the Church. But in the end, she, like so many other Is there anything sadder than marrying a man who loves another more than he loves you? But in the end, she, like so many other women with a too-powerful rival, escapes her bad marriage. Fortunately Eleanor retains her dignity, and also hangs onto Aquitaine. This reader fervently hopes so. Thanks, Christy, for a great read! Mar 01, Dora marked it as to-read.

She is my ancestor. I'm looking forward to reading about her! Nov 09, Jerry Jr. It's to the credit of Christy English that the Eleanore of Aquitaine we meet in "To Be Queen" is--while absolutely compelling--not completely likeable. Here as in her first novel "The Queen's Pawn" English's great strength is her skill in using a spare and efficient prose style to bring to life the emotional world of these historical figures.

In the case of Eleanore of Aquitaine, this world is that of a shameless egotist who can, to paraphrase Jane Austen's Mary Crawford, find nothing in twelfth It's to the credit of Christy English that the Eleanore of Aquitaine we meet in "To Be Queen" is--while absolutely compelling--not completely likeable. In the case of Eleanore of Aquitaine, this world is that of a shameless egotist who can, to paraphrase Jane Austen's Mary Crawford, find nothing in twelfth century Europe so interesting as the presence of herself in it.

This makes for some delicious storytelling. Again and again, Eleanore's narration subordinates momentous historical occurrences to private events. A devastating military defeat dealt to her first husband Louis VII in the mountains of Anatolia while he is on crusade with Eleanore is incidental, compared to how she was spending her time that day a few miles away. Likewise, Eleanore's reasoning for personally participating in the crusade in the first place is presented--fascinatingly--as a gambit in her strategy with respect to her marriage to Louis and an effort to support her kinsman Raymond of Antioch.

Larger commitments to God or Church do not really enter the picture. Of course, given Eleanore's attitude towards religion as it's presented here, this is hardly surprising. But it's nonetheless an amazing display of self-regard and cynicism. And it's the best example of how English both writes as her narrator and skillfully articulates that narrator's excesses. And these excesses themselves are great, sometimes eye-rolling fun. Eleanore is not just a narcissist, she's sure-footed, subtle, and witty, the sort of narrator and character a reader can conceivably pass an unlimited number of pages with.

But to a certain extent Eleanore's outsized personality and her omnipresence in the novel as both narrator and principle character creates a serious problem. Simply put, Eleanore's narration is from behind the wheel of the steamroller. And from her perspective, her choices are all quite acceptable and sound. So we never have the opportunity to truly savor just how transgressive those choices are to the people who witness them and who otherwise share the world with her.

But Louis usually only knows what Eleanore chooses for him to know. And likewise, the scheming churchmen who provide "To Be Queen" with its villains only occasionally interact with Eleanore directly, and the courtiers whose disdain Eleanore continually shrugs off the reader seems never to encounter at all. So "To Be Queen" is in sore need of a Greek chorus, a character or set of characters near enough to Eleanore to observe what she does, and close enough to the mores of the time that the novel has a way to register just how beyond the pale Eleanore is.

Unfortunately Amaria, Eleanore's principle lady-in-waiting, is presented as strangely opaque and yet utterly committed to Eleanore's well-being. Rather than confining her story to a single palace or a court, English moves the action from Aquitaine, to Paris, to sites along the march of the Third Crusade eastward, to Constantinople, to points between, to Antioch, to Sicily, and back to Paris.

In each case, English provides a welcome sense of place. Her description of the Byzantine capital in all its glory is one of "To Be Queen"'s most riveting passages. When all is said and done, "To Be Queen" manages to be both brisk and complex, to be compulsively readable and to portray its subject in a way that--by presenting these imperfections--humanizes her. Obviously Eleanore fascinates English, and that's a good thing, because I for one am eager for further installments of Eleanore's story as reimagined by English.

Before her father died, he made her duchess of Aquitaine and made sure that King Louis would be her protector in addition to marrying his son. When both of their fathers passed away, not only was Eleanor duchess of Aquitaine, she became queen of France with high hopes that she could build another empire to equal that of her ancestor, Charlemagne.

Little did she know what life with Louis would be like since he had been raised to love the church more than anything, including more than her and more than France. Still she gave it her best shot, and during his 15 years of her marriage, she traveled and lived more than most people do in a lifetime. What she didn't know was all the adventure and drama was still yet to come but Henry, Duke of Normandy and count of Anjou was determined to have her as His queen at his side so they could build in rule the empire they both dreamed of.

There is definitely some fiction in this story as it is a book in the genre of historical fiction, and Eleanor takes some risks with one of her men and later her uncle. Because Louis was so "owned" by the church, is it possible that both of their fathers were poisoned? This author creates a very believable story that this could have happened. She also includes the story of Eleanor's sister, Petra, and the "foolish" decision she makes as a young child, and yet they really only seem to have each other because as queen, Eleanor can never be close to her children and she knows this.

In order to be queen, a part of your heart must be cut out she believes. Had Eleanor been born at a later date, she could have been queen somewhere on her own IMO, but during her day and age, threats were all around so she really had little choice but to marry, but at least one she did, she chose Kings.

She is a fascinating woman and probably one of the wealthiest and most influential of her time, and while I have learned to appreciate her even more, I don't know that anyone will take the place of Elizabeth in my heart. Unfortunately I could not read them at the same time. Jun 01, Hannah Fielding rated it it was amazing. I loved this book. The cover drew me in — especially the unusually silky textured paper — and sitting in my garden, I was transported to a bygone era, lost in a world of kings and queens and religion and politics and ambitions and dreams.

While the book is full of romance, the focus on telling a tale grounded in history is the priority, and this leads to a compelling page-turner. There is a wonderful sense of setting in the book — from the Aquitaine to the East — and the depiction of life for a t I loved this book. I have always loved the power of historical fiction to show how life differed for our ancestors, but also which common themes echo across the centuries. In this book, I was delighted by the strong characters particularly the females , their ambition and, most of all, the pull of their love over righteousness and politics.

She is careful to include vivid descriptions, allowing the reader to understand how this old world looked and felt. It is her romantic prose, though, that most draws me. My favourite phrase is this: For me, the greatest strength of the book lies in the characterisation. Eleanor is a heroine with whom you identify, and from early on in the book I found myself admiring her courage and her strength in such a male-dominated world. I think Christie finds the perfect balance between making Eleanor ruthless and treacherous when the need arises, but at heart a good, loving woman whom we respect and wish well.

And her love interests — well! Attractive, intriguing, a wonderful mix from the alpha male to the devoted worshiper. The ending of the book was perfect — freedom at last, and the hope of new love and a whole new level of power and accomplishment. Overall, this is a book I would recommend to anyone who loves romantic historical fiction.

May 18, Jean Marie rated it liked it Shelves: Eleanor of Aquitaine is a legend. The early years of her life, particularly her tenure as queen of France are often overlooked in favor of her time as England's queen and consort to the first Plantagenet monarch. This isn't a bad book, or a bad telling of this early period of Eleanor's life, but it isn't the best version of this story. In a nutshell, it sells the time frame short. First of all, it's a very simplistic version of this piece of history.

It being so simplistic cuts off a lot Eleanor of Aquitaine is a legend. It being so simplistic cuts off a lot of the connectivity that a reader gets from the narrator, in this case Eleanor herself. Not only does the shortness of the book hurt the story, but English's portrayal of Eleanor herself. She writes Eleanor has being a clever, brave, confident woman.

While she certainly was all of these things, there is a lack of emotion from Eleanor that hurts her character in this book and the portions of the story that do show her weaker, emotional side are few and far in between. This makes Eleanor appear only as half of the woman she was by omitting her humanity. That said, as this is English's second novel and she's improved tenfold as a writer.

She really seemed to settle into a proper narrative rhythm and was able to capture not only the feeling of the era and its atmosphere and without a doubt the history is clear cut and accurate. My biggest suggestion to her as a fan of her work and a fellow historian and Eleanor fangirl is to embrace length, fully transport the reader to the Medieval period that Eleanor lived, don't sell her character short either, make her both strong and weak, because she was indeed human.

Another hundred pages of details, atmosphere, character development. With English's improvement, I do look forward to her third novel. Above all, if you're curious about Eleanor, and don't know where to start, this is a great and fairly accurate novel that's perfect for a new reader. Jan 01, Emery Lee rated it it was amazing. Once again, Christy English dons the mantle of one of history's most fascinating women for this enthralling biographical novel.

English knows her subject on a very intimate level is evident from the very start, and this same feeling of intimacy captivates the reader from the first page. As the title clearly states, TO BE QUEEN chronicles the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, beginning at age ten while still under her father's tutelage, until her divorce from Louis VII, and her subsequent un Once again, Christy English dons the mantle of one of history's most fascinating women for this enthralling biographical novel. Told in a silky-smooth first person narrative, the author spins her tale of Eleanor's rise in a world of conquest, crusades, and ever shifting political sands; where land barons often rivaled kings, and the church looked to control it all.

A captivating tale of this strong and savvy woman's ambition, passion, and rise to power, will keep readers entralled and eagerly hungering for more. Apr 03, Rick F. Everything a historical novel should be- exciting, educational and deeply affecting. English is clearly at the very top of historical fiction writers today, one who takes the time to research her subject, and translate the facts into a brilliant fictional tale that catches the reader from the firstpage and doesn't let go!

A Everything a historical novel should be- exciting, educational and deeply affecting. Mar 15, Gaile rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book about the young years of Eleanor Of Aguitaine in one day. Smoothly written and well characterized, it showed me a better picture of Louis, The Pious than the other books I have read about her. I have four books about Eleanor and now I have five! I wish this had been longer as after Eleanor's divorce from the King Of France, she went on to marry Henry Of Normandy who reclaimed his mother's land and was crowned King Of England but that is another story.

Perhaps we will hear about th I read this book about the young years of Eleanor Of Aguitaine in one day. Perhaps we will hear about that from Ms Christy later. I really enjoyed this book. Feb 13, Amanda rated it really liked it. Though this is only English's second novel after 's The Queen's Pawn, she commands a strong sense of world-building and historical detail, plus she makes the story feel like it's true to history while still balancing fiction and entertainment for the reader. There's also been an obvious improvement in writing skill and storytelling since The Queen's Pawn, plus English's personal interested in and Author Christy English takes on the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine in her latest novel To Be Queen.

There's also been an obvious improvement in writing skill and storytelling since The Queen's Pawn, plus English's personal interested in and love for Eleanor of Aquitaine shines through as she seeks to reveal the woman behind the legend. Eleanor or, as she was born, Alienor has spent much of her young life knowing that she was the sole heir to the Duchy of Aquitaine and being tutored by her father in the ways of politics, court intrigues and, most importantly, her duty to Aquitaine and her people.

After spending nearly a decade working out a marriage contract, Eleanor's father suddenly dies and Eleanor goes to France to marry the Dauphin, Louis. Not long after, Louis becomes king, and Eleanor finds herself caught between her duty to the people of Aquitaine, her duty to Louis and France and, most importantly, her own ambitions. For when her marriage to Louis yields no male heirs, and no romance, she considers making her own way.

Eleanor of Aquitaine has always been a fascinating woman to me. She defied so many social conventions of the time about women, and dared to follow her own ambitions instead of completely bowing to her husband or any other man. Instead, Eleanor was intelligent, strong, and ruthless though not so much at this point in her life.

Instead, she learns to survive in a man's world. English does a wonderful job of bringing the woman to life on the page, complete with well-developed characterization and a realistic sense that makes readers want to cheer for her. Eleanor's husband Louis is also well characterized, with his pious nature and obviously weaker personality, making him a poor companion for so strong a woman. Unfortunately, though, as much as Eleanor of Aquitaine has a lot of interesting history to explore, it feels like English is a tad bit late to the Eleanor party.

I know of at least three historical fiction novels that were published last year about the famous Eleanor, and at least one other that's coming out this year. Despite this, of all the recent novels I've read about Eleanor, I think that English handles her the best and manages to make her feel human while still giving her strength.

Eleanor of Aquitaine: The 12th Century QILF

I certainly hope English plans to write sequels to this, as there is still so much more to explore about Eleanor's life after the events of To Be Queen -and it feels like things are just getting started! Mar 08, Sandy Vaughan rated it it was amazing. Can you imagine my surprise when Christy English asked me If I would like to review her book? I was leaping up and down inside but had to rail myself in as I warned her she must expect a honest review Now all I had to do is wait for the book to arrive!

Who would I meet? Would it be the lady depicted in "Becket" who was not beautiful in her brief appearance as a shrewish looking and acting woman surrounded by a passel of young children. Or it be the strong, Eleanor of Can you imagine my surprise when Christy English asked me If I would like to review her book? Or it be the strong, Eleanor of "Lion in Winter" but a younger version? She was smart quick child who adored her instructor father who taught her more than reading and writing. He taught her statesmanship, as she would one day be the ruler of his vast estates. She was taught critical thinking as well as controlling her facial expressions.

Her father's home was one of "courtly love" with troubadours who sang songs in tribute to a woman's attributes as well as did most men. The court was lively with music, dancing, and innocent flirtations well, ok, some were not so innocent. What better muse could there be but the duke's daughter, Eleanor think of the young Elizabeth Taylor's startling beauty. As Eleanor was to be his inheritor, it was important to father and child that a great marriage be arranged.

Their goal will be obtained, but at what price? Louis, unlike his queen, was not raised to rule. He was raised by very devout catholic churchmen to be the most devoted of the devout. They are therefore his most trusted advisers necessitating Eleanor to practice all the lessons learned at her father's knee. Though he loves her, Louis's catholic guilt is most strong in the bedroom causing him to visit there infrequently. If Aquitaine is brightness, freshness, joyous, and musical, Paris is its opposite! It is gloomy and smelly.

Between the priests and the court, Eleanor must be on constant guard as they would all destroy her if they could. In many cases, it is more than dislike and disapproval, it is hate. Yes, this was the Eleanor I wanted to meet! The woman of strength and passion who will leave her husband, the King of France, to marry the future King of England, Henry, a man who saw her as an equal in all things. There is so much more to this story but I don't want to spoil it for you! It is well worth you time! Feb 11, Heather rated it really liked it Shelves: In her follow-up to the highly enjoyable The Queen's Pawn , Christy English brings us back a few years to a young Alienor who is just coming into her own as the up-and-coming Duchess of Aquitaine.

We have the great privilege to follow Eleanor from Aquitaine to France, to the Holy Land and finally at the very end on to England. I re In her follow-up to the highly enjoyable The Queen's Pawn , Christy English brings us back a few years to a young Alienor who is just coming into her own as the up-and-coming Duchess of Aquitaine. I really found myself liking this young Eleanor much more than the hardened Eleanor of later life — she was just so passionate.

I was also allowed the chance to get to know characters that were less familiar to me. King Louis was a more complex character than I initially thought. The relationship between him and his wife was interesting to watch develop — it was also painful to watch fall apart.

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You also get to see what attracted Eleanor to a young Henry of Normandy — he was determined and powerful — how could you not be attracted to him? One of the strengths of the author in this novel was the ease in which she evokes the senses — sight and smell particularly. It really builds and adds to the descriptions of the world around us. This trip was less focused on the events transpiring while en route and more on the evolution of Eleanor as a person. Building upon this, Christy develops a total woman in Eleanor — she is not just the stereotyped woman, although you can see where these famous stereotypes come from.

We get to see a woman with flaws, but a woman who learns from them and grows. This book was received for review from the author - I was not compensated for my opinions and the above is my honest review. Mar 17, Carole Rae rated it really liked it. She is one my favorite historical figures. Poor girl is born in the wrong era. Luckily, her father believed she should learn to read, write, ride horses, hunt, and even have a hand in politics.

He knew she would need it when he died since he left her as his heir to Aquitaine. He also planned on her becoming Queen of France as well. I am glad we got to see her father more. Normally books end up killing him at the beginning, but not here. It was nice to see Alienor as a child and seeing her grow up into the legend she would become.

I also loved that the author made her seem human with human weakness. Many authors idolize her and make her superwoman. She was a wonderful woman, but had many weaknesses like the rest of us and she accepted her weaknesses and I loved it. She wanted so much, which I don't blame her. Aim high, but alas, there are SO many signs to run away screaming from Louis.

He's a nice guy, sure, but he is a puppet of the church. It was not worth it and it took years of marriage for her to realize this and move on with her life. There was a chunk in the middle that bored me too tears. Nothing was happening and it just went on and on for about 30 pages. Finally something happened and the flow went back to normal. But that was a long 30 pages. It was defiantly the calm before the storm, but alas, boring. I did like how she ended it.

It was a nice hopeful ending even though we all know how the marriage to Henry goes But yes, hopeful and makes me want to read more. It's been a while since I've read a book on Alienor, so I want to continue and finish her story. She is an interesting woman especially for the time period. In the end, this was certainly a good take on the famous Alienor's life. There was a dry spot in the middle, but it ending after about 30 pages, so I am content. I was worried for a while, but I knew that it couldn't last forever.

I loved the fact that we got to see Alienor as a child and learn more about her father. I still want to read a book about her father and mother and their early life. I must search for that! Let me know if that exists. I totally recommend this to those that like history. In the end, I shall stamp this with 4 stars. Jul 20, Carol W rated it really liked it. The Middle ages did not interest me in history lessons at school, and I have neglected this period in my historical fiction reading. I accepted a copy of this novel, from the author, as I had heard good things about her writing.

Christy English has grabbed my attention with the fascinating story of Eleanor of Aquitaine's early life and first marriage. I want to know more about this little known Queen and this period in history. Eleanor, at her father's side, had to grow up very quickly after her m The Middle ages did not interest me in history lessons at school, and I have neglected this period in my historical fiction reading.


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  • Eleanor, at her father's side, had to grow up very quickly after her mother died, when she was only 8 years old. Her father prepared her to become a Queen, showing her how to command the trust and loyalty of his people, something that was not easy for a young woman. He made arrangements for her to marry King Louis VII, making sure that her wealth and land would stay with her and pass only to her sons.

    The marriage was built on politics and power rather than love and, although Eleanor pledged to be loyal to her husband, for the sake of her father, King Louis was under the influence of the Church.

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    Eleanor served her husband, as her father wished, for many years but their marriage would not produce a male heir. King Louis joined The Crusades and Eleanor followed him as his dutiful Queen, but in that time she would seek love elsewhere. She would never be accepted by King Louis's people or the church.