3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Chadwick hits her stride - Kudos!,
This review is from: The Summer Queen (Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy) (Hardcover)
Rich, sumptuous, moving, unputdownable. What a great opportunity to read and enjoy the less familiar early years of Eleanor of Aquitaine(called "Alienor" in the book). Sensuous descriptions full of texture, rounded believable characters, and great historical research. What a life - a marriage to Louis VII of France, who starts out as an attractive young husband and degenerates into a bitter, hateful mockery of a husband. What a crusade, as we follow Alienor and Louis over Europe through Hungary to Constantinople, Antioch, and Jerusalem. Helpful genealogical charts and maps are provided. Great opportunity to learn about some of the more unfamiliar personages of medieval history, either present or just mentioned in narrative: Roger of Sicily, Fulk of Jerusalem, etc.
Chadwick shows great restraint and control of her narrative, never cheapening her material. She masterfully expresses the tenaciousness and survival of Alienor, who somehow survives hatred, envy and repression (from Louis and his right-hand man Thierry de Galeran), enduring endures the pain of parting and loss (from her early love), and the sorrow of nostalgia (with her sister, Petronella). In her devotion to her native Aquitaine Alienor sacrifices motherhood, risking everything for her marriage to Henry II which makes her Queen of England.
This is an absolute treat, and I see the sequel, The Winter Crown will be published this autumn. Bring it on!