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4.4 out of 5 stars107
4.4 out of 5 stars
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 18 July 2011
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a very well written and absorbing story. Eleanor of Acquitaine was a woman almost unique in her time who lived an interesting life. She makes excellent source material. The author uses the facts known about her and embroiders and embellishes them to weave a good tale.

However, one has to be careful when putting together fact and fiction. A lot of what the author surmises is the result of her, admittedly fertile imagination. Particularly in connection with Eleanor's affairs, some of the assertions are, frankly, not believable in historical terms. It is very easy to slander the dead!

In particular the racy affairs she conjures with one of her first husband's, the King of France's vassal, is incredible in historical terms. The repercussions on the whole of his family for such uncovered treason would have resulted not only in a painful death but confiscature of land - the really important issue for early medieval families. The affair in the Holy Land is equally an intriguing dalliance for readers of fiction but again not supported with historical evidence or even likelihood.

So worth Five Stars as an excellent historical romantic romp and a great read but loses a little when one puts parts of the tale into the realms of the probable. Suspend belief and enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon 16 September 2012
Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the third book by Anne O'Brien I have read recently, and I have found her to be a very readable author - far better that the dull Gregory, if you want my opinion! All three of the novels I have read have been written in the first person, which is a narrative technique that I don't generally care for as it often feels too contrived and limits the point of view (see Philippa Gregory!). However, O'Brien, for me, has managed to pull this off and the first person narrative works for her and gives you a real empathy with her protagonists.

This was a good read and a good piece of historical Fiction, with perhaps a bit more emphasis on the Fiction element, as a few incidents I'm not convinced actually happened, or have been embroidered in the retelling. This deals with Eleanor's earlier life, from just before she becomes Queen of France to just after she becomes Queen of England. There could be a whole other book to be written on her life after the end of this book!

O'Brien made Eleanor come alive for me as a person, even if, as I have already said, I did have some reservations on historical accuracy. I think that if an historical novelist gives you a real feel for a person and makes you want to know more, then they have certainly done their job. There are some good biographies on Eleanor out there, so hopefully readers of this novel will feel inspired to seek them out.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have never read anything about Eleanor of Aquitaine before, and so this allowed me learn some history about her early life combined with fiction. There were quite a few obvious scenes that would never have happened, and some parts did seem a bit silly, but with these aside it was an interesting read. Eleanor herself did annoy me at times, for at the start for such a young girl she was made to sound much older.

It's also quite a long book but I felt it moved along at a good pace and would recommend it to fans of historical fiction who haven't read much about Eleanor before.
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This is a light historical novel based on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, married first to Louis VII of France, and then to Henry of Anjou, who becomes King of England after the death of the usurper Stephen.

Some of it is a bit overly romantic - the action in the Holy Land? A touch of literary license perhaps on the author's part.

The novel finishes in 1154 when Eleanor assumes her new role - for those unfamiliar with the story, I'll not put in a spoiler here.

This book offers a light, engaging historical novel. For those unfamiliar with the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine it will offer revelations - for those familiar with the story, there's nothing new here, and some that is historically very suspect - but that does not detract from an enjoyable read overall. It won't rock your world, but it will entertain.
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on 28 May 2013
The past never really comes to life in this novel as the characters never become truly believable. Eleanor's life should have been interesting but more energy seems to have been spent on creating descriptions of her love-making than really entering the medieval world. Compared with a novel such as 'Son of Dust' by H F M Prescott which creates the illusion of entering a distant but fully realised medieval world, 'Devil's Consort' lacks credibility.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This novel falls between the totally ludicrous Jean Plaidy portrayal of Eleanor in The Plantagenet Prelude and the brilliant factually correct Sharon Penman picture painted in While Christ and his Saints Slept and carried on into Time and Chance. Affairs with her uncle, Raymond of Antioch resulting in a child, Geoffrey of Normandy, and her troubadour, fabricated to make her appear "scandalous" simply defame the lady unfairly. The work, although an entertaining romp, is not to be taken seriously from a historical point of view. Anne has an attractive presentation coupled with an active imagination. The idea of the future Henry II taking his father's ex-mistress to wife is ridiculous, and Geoffrey le bel would hardly have "poached" on "Saint" Louis' territory knowing what the repercussions would be if it ever came to light. Sorry Anne, I liked The Virgin Widow, which did not defame the dead without foundation, but this one is more fiction based on factual figures. Incidentally, although her sister was named Aelith, she was always called Petronilla.
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on 12 April 2011
I was very kindly sent this book by Simon from BookRabbit as I had read and reviewed Anne O'Briens last book which I enjoyed immensely, and I have to say this was just as gripping. I loved it, all about Eleanor of Aquitaine, a person I knew very little about to start with, but who I now know more about and would like to learn more! The blurb on the back of the book makes you believe that Eleanor was ambitious beyond belief, but I really have to say that was not the way she came across in the actual story. Anne draws you into Eleanors life quite gently and keeps you gripped throughout. I thought Eleanor came across as a strong woman, yes and at times misguided but by and large I was sympathetic towards her. She seemed a woman more used than ambitious in my opinion.
The book was very well researched and very well executed in the telling of the story. I am now a commited fan, I loved it and look forward very much to the next book.
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on 31 March 2013
I read this book following an email suggestion from Amazon, read the first 2 chapters and was sufficiently interested to buy the book. I loved it.. my first historical novel. Gripping storyline, excellent characters and events seemed well researched. Thought the end notes finished the book in an excellent fashion. Highly recommended. Will definitely read more by the same author.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Eleanor of Aquitaine was beyond doubt the most powerful woman of her time. Eleanor married Kings and gave birth to Kings, was admired, detested and ambitious beyond belief. A woman who, reportedly, faced her husband's mistress with a dagger and poison and asked her which one she would prefer. Talented, an admirer of the arts, educated and willing to both encourage and follow her own children into rebellion against their father, Eleanor was, still is, legendary, and for that reason I approached Devils Consort with a lot of trepidation. I'm not entirely convinced by the book, I felt it lost itself somewhere between an historical reference work and fiction and that slowed it down, made what could have been a blazing plot quite slow and tedious to read. I was never convinced by the dialogue, far too modern, and there are so many reference notes to bog it all down and kill any tension. I do admire Anne O'Brien's research though, she has delivered an excellent historical account of events but I think she has fallen short of capturing the real Eleanor however; she has avoided the temptation to turn Devils Consort into a bodice ripper and for that, I thank her. Interesting though slow fictional account of a legendary Queen that falls far short of delivering the real Eleanor.
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Format: PaperbackVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Devil's Consort
As a bloke I rarely wander in the unchartered waters of the "romance section" of book stores but when offered the chance by Amazon to try something different I thought why the hell not. I have a passing interest in both history and queens (both the crowned and the gay ones) so the fictional biography of Eleanor Duchess of Aquitaine , one time wife of Louise King of France and ultimately wife of Henry Plantagenet King of England (via other capable and powerful lovers) seemed a good bet.

The story embarks from just before her miserable marriage to the overly pious Louise and romps (and I do mean romps) through intrigue and gossip through to her producing a male heir for Henry. The redoubtable if not always admirable (although the author clearly finds her entrancing) heroine of the tale is what would be described as one "spunky" woman by our American brethren.

The style is eminently readable and the story as I said romps along. It seems to be all about sex but as her first husband hardly ever bonks her due to a surfeit of holiness and her last hardly ever because he always off sabre ratelling (if in fact sabres were around at this time! Whatever you feel about the book you cannot help but acknowledge that the historical research done by the author is both full and deep) it can't really be. Maybe it's just how it feels. Could this be my very first pot boiler?

Having romped to the end I felt slightly like I had sat through an x rated Disney film, only to be pulled up short by the "read all about it" section at the end. This is a sort of end notes with some further info about the great lady and her portrayal in various media but also questions obviously designed for book club discussion and quite some detail ( along with an interview) about the author. I like this bit a great deal but its style is, perhaps inevitably, at such variance with the rest of the book that you get a sort of terminal dissonance!

All in all an enjoyable romping (I know I have over used that word but it's the book that did it!) read and good fun plus expands (albeit a little because plot obscures fact acclimation, which is good or it would be somewhat dry otherwise and whatever else this book is it's defiantly moist) your historical knowledge to boot.
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