Yes, I know that I am a shameless EC fangirl. Every new release has me scanning the offerings from England, and when I see a new title, I swoop down on it like an owl on a field mouse.
This time Ms. Chadwick tells the early story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most fascinating women in history, and does it very well indeed. Here, we see Eleanor's story from the earliest days of her marriage to Louis VIII. Instead of using stereotypes that most authors have done, here Alienor (as EC calls her) is still very much a young girl at the time of her wedding. While the early days still had optimism for her, we see that dream crumble as Louis is pulled to and fro by his advisors, especially religious ones, and the marriage starts to unravel. When Louis decides to go on Crusade to free Jerusalem, Alienor takes some drastic steps of her own...
What can I say? I loved this book, and happily there are going to be two sequels -- The Autumn Crown and The Winter Throne. I don't want to reveal anything more, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I will say that there are plenty of fresh views, and the research is spot on. Five stars overall, and very happily recommended.
For the longer review, please go here: