I first read this work some years ago, after it was first published. I have since re-read it several times. Marion Meade's flowing and colorful literary style helps to make this history an entertaining and educational read. Meade takes the reader on a textured journey, from the beginnings of Eleanor of Aquitaine's family history, through to her stay at Fountervault Abbey in France, where she died in the early 13th century. All along, the reader is given a solid glimpse of a long and eventful life of a woman who was clearly ahead of her time. Meade also infuses Eleanor's apparent sense of humor into the work, made factual from actual documents of the period. Meade shows Eleanor for who she was: Queen of two countries (and expert politician), wife of two kings, and mother of many children. It does not spare the reader Eleanor's human frailties, but does not pretend that Eleanor was a pawn among males during her life. In addition, Meade paints the reader a canvas of period life from the Queen's perspective, and colorfully illustrates the emotional, as well as the factual aspects of the life of this amazing woman.