Renowned for her highly acclaimed and best-selling 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 12th-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.
©2010 Alison Weir (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A Tudor specialist, popular British historian Weir has ventured, with great success, into the increasingly expansive world of historical fiction…The history itself is inherently dramatic, augmented here by Weir’s usual lush detail, which stimulates rather than detracts from the well-paced narrative.” (Booklist)
Like other reviewers, I thought this was like reading a trashy romance at times. It was all sex all the time. Eleanor and Henry's story is so much more than that - did we miss the part where they rule most of Christendom? I'm a big fan of Weir as a historian, and her two other novels were great, so I was very disappointed here. I think the narration was lacking too - you can't have a woman doing a "deep" voice and it be adequate for Henry Fitz Empress. But a man's voice wouldn't have worked for Eleanor telling her own story either. This really should have been a two-voice recording. I hope someone records Sharon Kay Penman's Henry and Eleanor trilogy, it does them more justice. GREAT books.
I don't understand why everyone is slamming this book. I enjoyed it. The narrator was excellent and the book was accurate. I think because Wier mostly writes nonfiction, most people were expecting this in her novel. I like this one better than 'Innocent Traitor'. For all those who were complaining about the amount of sex in the book, what do you expect? They had nine children (?) including the two sons who died, and Henry was notorious for his mistresses. Family drama, Beckett and her imprisonment all portrayed well, including Richard's rumored homosexuality. I would recommend for any Eleanor fan, this gives a well rounded opinion, showing both her strength and shortcomings. She is still the heroine, so stop your whining.
Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton. In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!!
Alison Weir seems to be losing her edge. I've always been a fan of her writing but, recently, her books are coming off like romance novels. I love Eleanor of Aquitaine - I know she was a ***ch sometimes but, hey, she was a woman in a man's world! In this book, she is portrayed as flighty and slutty, rather than the woman with a purpose who lived her life like a man. I've purchased every Weir audio book available here but this one just might be my last!
I wonder if this was one of Alison Weir's earlier attempts at a novel that she dragged back out. I love Alison Weir, Phillipa Gregory, Margaret George, Robin Maxwell...even Jean Plaidy...but I think before they all "go the hang" of writing nicely researched historical novels, they all tried their hand at these sort of bodice rippers. This book is a fail. A waste of money. I couldn't even finish it. Why did she even call it a book about Eleanor of Aquitaine? This could have been about a fictional character for all the information I was able to abtain about Eleanor of Aquitaine's life.
A wonderful love story that turns to a very sad love lost story. I love the old England history and the Kings & Queens the rule the lands. The narrator does a great job of bring the actors to life and making you feel as if you are there and living the story for yourself. Wonderful!! love it so much.
I have read and enjoyed several of Ms. Weir's novels, but this was just a very long and poorly disguised harlequin romance.
Yes, I love historical stories about kings and queens. This was well written and expertly narrated. The story covers not just a romance, but the history and Weirs point of view for the life of a rich and intriguing women living through a male dominated life. Her trials and tribulations were great, but in the end, with the love of her many children, she was able to rise above it all.
The emotions and fire of the Queen
I loved this book and this is one of the best historical fiction novels I have ever "read". Alison Weir not only has a great ability to tell a beautiful story but to also weave in the true details in a way that make it engaging and wanting to know more about other characters you meet. I was looking up historical accounts of her story and was finding that anything with actual fact, really did happen. The only difference between fact and fiction was the specific dialogue (except for what King Henry said about Thomas Beckett).
I wish my history classes were like this because it was like watching a TV show in my head about all the captivating things this queen and strong woman did in Middle Age England.
From a historian's point of view, this book leaves MUCH to be desired. The story of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II does not need the embellishments that Weir has used. Unless her intended audience is only accustomed to the Harlequin plotline, the salacious introduction and subsequent oversexed scenes in the book mask the real and truly amazing story of Eleanor and Henry. If their lives and experiences are not enough to entertain and educate without having to appeal to the erotic to maintain a captive audience, then we are left with a sad state of readers. I don't think this is the case, though. I chalk this book up to either being an earlier inexperienced manuscript of Weir's or the revenge of disgruntled copy editor.
Did Alison Weir truly write this? I have enjoyed her other books so much that I could not wait to read this one. The beginning is very much like a romance novel....very disappointing.
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