Monday, July 12, 2010

Review: Captive Queen

Eleanor of Aquitaine was a fascinating historical figure, one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in Europe during the Middle Ages. She was the Duchess of Aquitaine, Countess of Poitiers, Queen of France, Queen of England (though not both of those at the same time), a crusader, a sponsor of writers and troubadours, a wife (twice), mother of ten (maybe 11) children (two with Louis VII of France, the rest with Henry II of England), and, at the end of her life, a nun. At a time when most women were illiterate chattel, she was a influential and accomplished woman in her own right. It's no wonder that so many books about her life are out already, with more coming this year.


So, with such fascinating subject matter to work with, why did I find Alison Weir's Captive Queen so uninteresting?

I won't go so far as to call it boring - the subject matter was enough to keep me going - but it was close. One of the biggest problems: the book is written in third person from Eleanor's perspective, but since the queen was in prison for years, there are vast stretches where all the action happens off screen.

The writing is also really clunky in places (see A Reader's Respite's review for some great examples) and there were far more sex scenes than I needed to read.

If you're an Eleanor fanatic or just a Plantagenet junkie, you might want to check Captive Queen out of your local library. But there's no need, I think, to run out and buy it when it comes out tomorrow (7/13).

Buy Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine on Amazon.

I received this book through the Librarything Early Reviewers program.

1 comment:

  1. There's a podcast available [last time I checked] on iTunes on this woman. It was broadcast by "Things You Should Have Learned in History Class". You can put it on your iPod free.

    It was very good and short. She has 11 children. Amazing! I don't recall if they said she also had misscarriages.

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