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17 Reviews
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As gripping as all Jean Plaidy books
I have been a fan of Jean Plaidy books for 50 years and was devastated when they went out of print. I asked at Waterstones about them and the next thing they were back on the shelves! It's brilliant that I can get them on the Kindle so will probably go right through the list. The Plantagenets series are all excellent reads and I thoroughly recommend them if you like...
Published on 7 Sep 2012 by Linda Smith

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfair Rubbish
A novel based on the early years of Eleanor of Aquitaine, which defames her character considerably for the sake of sensationalism. Facts are totally distorted in that there is no documented proof of her affair with her uncle, Raymond of Antioch, while on crusade with Louis, and the suggestion of a liaison with Saladin is ludicrous because at the time he would have been a...
Published on 26 July 2010 by Hiraethus o Gymru


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As gripping as all Jean Plaidy books, 7 Sep 2012
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Linda Smith "50s fan" (Bury, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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I have been a fan of Jean Plaidy books for 50 years and was devastated when they went out of print. I asked at Waterstones about them and the next thing they were back on the shelves! It's brilliant that I can get them on the Kindle so will probably go right through the list. The Plantagenets series are all excellent reads and I thoroughly recommend them if you like historical novels.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scandal in the twelth century, 4 Feb 2013
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C. Wilson "Christine" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
I am enjoying re-reading all the Jean Plaidy's that I enjoyed from my youth and possibly finding some, like this, that I had not read. I am a bit of a history junkie but have never really been interested in any period before the Wars of the Roses. However, how wrong was I? Eleanor of Aquitaine is arguably the most fascinating woman in British history. In an age when women were merely baby-carriers she was rich, held land, married at her own will and seemed to behave like a very modern woman.

The parts of the book before she meets and marries Henry II of England are very different to the second half. As a younger woman in France she appears cruel, selfish and very frivolous and perhaps a bit foolish. It is extremely hard to like her but once she marries Henry, Thomas Becket takes centre stage (and I had NO idea his birth was so interesting) so I was able to get to grips with a story I had only known in a very vague way. I got to learn more about the atrocious Henry - and Eleanor took a back seat - bringing up a never ending array of children.

By the end of the book I was really gripped with this period and immediately ordered the next one - The Revolt of the Eaglets.

Jean Plaidy has her own writing style and it is slightly different to how modern history novellists write but enjoyable nonetheless so I will enjoy continuing to work my way through the series.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical Fiction Novel on William I, 27 Jun 2007
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S. Clueit (Lancashire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
I actually rather enjoyed this book and it encouraged me to start reading all of Jean Plaidy's novels from William the Conquer through to Queen Victoria.

You have to remember that the novel try's to remain true to actual events, and there is not much written documentation from this era, that is either not bias or of false representation.

True, Philippa Gregory's books are excellent (and I would also recommend these), but she has the advantage of writing about well documented events, passionate times, with racy courtiers and the danger of having your head lopped off by Henry VIII. The medieval times were of poets, romance, crusades and slightly more reserved characters.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Page Turner, 2 Aug 2007
This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
Jean Plaidy is a far better author than Phillipa Gregory who has very much copied Jean's style. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the plantagenet series and also the catherine medici series.

Sometimes her style is a little over repetitive and she uses short sentences, but on the whole there is plenty to evoke the imagination. If you like historical fiction - her books are real pages turners.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unfair Rubbish, 26 July 2010
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Hiraethus o Gymru (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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A novel based on the early years of Eleanor of Aquitaine, which defames her character considerably for the sake of sensationalism. Facts are totally distorted in that there is no documented proof of her affair with her uncle, Raymond of Antioch, while on crusade with Louis, and the suggestion of a liaison with Saladin is ludicrous because at the time he would have been a boy of about 9 years.
While Eleanor was undoubtably a woman of strong character, and in later years a matriarchal tyrant, to portray her as a tart is unfair when there are no grounds based on fact. As a historical novel, this is Mills and Boon quality and not to be taken seriously.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Medieval Convention Buster, 16 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
This book is a mixture of fact and pure entertainment. It charts the life of Eleanor of Acquitaine from the death of her father, the ruler of the Duchy, when she was 15 (making her the heiress), through her marriage to and divorce from King Louis of France leading her to her love match with Henry II of England, a marriage which eventually turns into bitter mutual hatred, following Henry's decision to find a place in the royal nursery for a son, Geoffrey, born out of wedlock to one of his mistresses. The final seal of doom is set on the relationship when a rash outburst from the king prompts four of his knights to murder Thomas a Beckett in Canterbury Cathedral. This results in both Eleanor and their sons turning against Henry and plotting his downfall.

The novel is a compulsive and enjoyable read as it depicts Eleanor as a woman who tore up and threw away the Medieval rule book governing relationships with men, adding mixed race relationships,and incest between uncle and niece to a bubbling cauldron of implicitly expressed passionate love and hate.

It is also fascinating for its attempt to study the complex relationship between Henry and Thomas a Beckett, starting with friendship and brotherly love, when Beckett became Henry's Chancellor, and ending in two-way suspicion and distrust when Thomas is made Archbishop of Canterbury and chooses obedience to God rather than monarch.

This book is a successful blend of fact and fiction and at times it's hard to discern where one ends and the other begins. Its greatest achievement may be that it might encourage readers to study factual history about the people and events at this time. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting read., 11 Mar 2012
This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
I chose this book as an introduction to the Plantagenet period of history and found it interesting and informative although the author does seem to incorporate every bit of historical rumour relating to Eleanor. All in all a good read and I will try the next book in the series.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hmm.., 24 July 2007
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This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
This book does not start well. After reading 'The Greatest Knight/The Scarlet Lion' I have a very fond image of Eleanor of Aquaitine, which the book seemed set on destroying. As far as Im aware, elements of Eleanors life which the book draws upon are not always accurate..

However once the book, in my opinon, stopped blackening Eleanors name, it became much more readable and I quite enjoyed the passages about Thomas Beckett - and I never knew his mother has been a muslim convert?

In generally the book was readable, although I did not find Plaidys style very imaginative or creative. She did not spin a story web.. instead her sentances are very short and punctuated - which while made reading easy and quick, did not caputure and create.

I have read other books of hers which are better.. but wanted to read this one as I like the plantagent era. It does give insight into this period, but prefer Elizabeth Chadwicks portrayal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, 16 Jan 2013
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It was like reading 4 different books going through the different stages of Eleanor's life. Really enjoyed it! Would recommend!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good - but read continuously!, 1 Jun 2011
This review is from: The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) (Paperback)
I received this book as part of a birthday present from my parents - and immediately enjoyed it. I had previously read the now out-of-print Norman Trilogy (or rather the second two books: The Lion of Justice and The Passionate Enemies), which had given me a good range of background knowledge about who these 'Plantagenets' were, and why they thought they had any claim to the throne of England.

This book centres around Eleanor of Aquitaine,and does include rather a large section on her marriage to the King of France. However, although at first this seems irrelevant and boring, it does even out when you begin to understand why she is described as 'scandalous'. She is, in a way, very typecast. In every Jean Plaidy novel, there is an obstinate woman. The Norman trilogy has Empress Matilda, the Victorian series has Queen Victoria, the Tudors have Anne Boleyn, and this has Eleanor. This does, of course, throw in the aspect of 'woman who is ahead of her time'.

All in all, I enjoyed this book, although I did take a badly timed break halfway through, which meant I forgot the earlier plot points when I re-started. Be warned : read continuously!
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The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga)
The Plantagenet Prelude: (Plantagenet Saga) by Jean Plaidy (Paperback - 1 Feb 2007)
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