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The Captive Queen
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on 16 July 2015
read a lot of Alison's books,always makes me read more of her work
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on 18 March 2017
I feel I have got to know Eleanor and have some insight into her life. . . . . .
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on 2 March 2017
Brilliant I loved it
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on 17 April 2017
Great quality very happy
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on 22 January 2013
I have seen many mixed reviews about this book but I enjoyed it. I believe it showed a stereotyped character for Eleanor of Aquitaine and didn't perhaps explore her motives in as much depth as I would have liked but went with the 'rumour' version of her. However I found the book read at a good pace and gave a good overview of the story of Eleanor and Henry. It is a good introduction for someone like me who likes to start building up a picture with the fictional accounts and then delve into the historical facts when I feel more comfortable and familiar with the stories to see what actually is accurate. So far this is the second fictional account I have read of Eleanor and I have also read the chapter on her in Lisa Hilton's Queen's Consort. I found the book very enjoyable, enjoyed the detail provided about the era, although would have liked more of this and didn't find the sexual scenes over powering as some have commented. I do not read romance novels and did not feel this had degenerated into a rompy romance as some have commented. There were some references within the text that became repetitive but not to the extent that you will find within Philippa Gregory novels. It was also clunky in some aspects where the author had charatcers retelling stories/legends of the past.

I am left liking Eleanor's character and wanting to read more about her. As a fairly new Plantagenet reader this has also wet my appetite for more from the family ie Richard and John and more about courts and general life in this era. I do feel a little confused about Henry ii and don't feel I understand his character through reading this book.
Personally I would recommend the book as an enjoyable read. I have given it four stars as I enjoyed it, couldn't put it down and read through it very quickly
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on 18 September 2017
My wife is great reader of historical factual based books. Really likes Alison Weir books. She seems to be one of the best in her field.
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on 14 April 2010
... quite a lot of "buts" actually!
I think the first one is that this is way, way too short a novel to begin to do justice to Eleanor's life, even given that Weir does start when she is thirty, meeting the future Henry II for the first time. Now I know that there is very little actual material directly about Eleanor - as Weir found to her cost when she did an actual biography of Eleanor: Eleanor of Aquitaine: By the Wrath of God, Queen of England. But she is right in the middle of an absolute wealth of material about the politics of her day and I frankly don't think a proper job can be done on her without bringing that in, in rather more detail than Weir does here. If you want to read a really good shot at doing that in the form of historical novels, Sharon Penman has got that T-shirt: When Christ and His Saints Slept etc. (admittedly 3 long novels, and ou may feel you don't have the time!)
The second (and this may just be me being tedious) - far too much time on the sex by numbers stuff. That sort of thing will do in any sex'n'shopping novel, but there is so much more that could be done with this book! I felt that Weir's biog was basically an historical novel longing to get out - but I had rather thought that this would enable her to plump for (and explain in terms of character development) particular versions of what Eleanor might have done. Again, I quite see that the evidence (scads of children in very short order going on until Eleanor was on the brink of the menopause, and despite forced separations, and very very bitter break up) indicates that she and Henry had a passionate thing going - but we don't need the diagram at the expense of making the whole thing work and explaining the other big thing they had going - passionate political interests.
I also (despite having chuntered through a few of Weir's books that she should give up on the popular history and start writing historical novels) don't feel Weir is necessarily stylistically at home in the world of the novel. Whereas as a historian you can often sense her immersed in her facts, I don't find her writing here carries a sense of immersion or belief in the characters - and I think (like Tinkerbell) it is hard for characters to really live if their author doesn't believe in them as real people.
So - I guess if you are looking for an engaging picture of Eleanor's life written by someone who has done all the research, this is really good and you will probably like it and find it a good jumping off point for further reading. If you have read/adore Penman or are really quite well read on the subject of Eleanor of Aquitaine I suspect this will just annoy you (unless, like me, you enjoy a good chunter!)
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on 7 April 2010
Alison Weir has proven once again that her fiction novels are just as wonderful as her non fiction. Her attention to detail and understanding of the historical figures she portrays are excellent.

The Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth kept me hooked for hours. However I was unsure if The Captive Queen would be as entertaining for me. I've always loved the Tudor period so Weir's new novel was a new experience and period for me.

The story centres around Queen Eleanor and her explosive marriage to Henry Plantagenet. Weir starts by addressing Eleanor's unhappy marriage to King Louis of France, but this is brief. Henry and Eleanor are introduced very quickly and I feel the story really takes off once they are together. Weir captures the lust and passion of the newly formed couple perfectly.

As the story unravels cracks start to appear in the couples relationship. Although I had some understanding of what was going to happen, I found myself wishing that they would stay happy together. Weir has created characters who jump out at you and I loved that about this book.

Weir explores the marriage of Eleanor and Henry from start to finish, covering a long period in history and many key points. The exploration of Becket and the part he had to play in the marriage is interesting and added depth to the story. I particularly enjoyed how his murder was portrayed and the aftermath. I also liked the relationships built between Eleanor and her children. This was vital for the novel to conclude in the way it does.

The final section of the novel was the hardest part for me to read. It was truly awful reading about the break down of the marriage. Weir captures the hatred which has built up gradually throughout the book, into an explosive final.

I have given the story a 4 star rating because Weir has introduced me to a new area of history which was unexplored until now. She has written her own take on two very important figures in our history with attention to detail. The book was easy to read and characters were introduced and weaved through the story carefully. Weir has captured 'the most notoriously vicious marriage in history' into a great novel.
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on 20 April 2010
I wasn't disappointed with this. Maybe it could be argued that the dialogue is rather 'modern' but I think if you are writing about the 12th century it's a necessity really to translate the thoughts and words of the characters into idiomatically understandable English but I couldn't fault the power of the story and its telling or the vice like grip of the narrative. This isn't a period of history I'm as familiar with as the Tudors and I came to Eleanor's story with not much foreknowledge which actually wasn't a bad thing. Perhaps if you are well up on your mediaeval scholarship, you will pick a lot of holes. All I can say for me is that I was gripped through the weekend and it is lingering in my mind. Quite wonderful. I was very moved. It informs and entertains. What more do you want? I'm looking forward to any more novels that Alison Weir writes, having greatly enjoyed her others Innocent Traitor and the Lady Elizabeth. I would have given it 4 and a half stars if possible...not quite perfect for me to give 5.
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on 7 May 2010
Innocent traitor was a brilliant example of good quality historical fiction, The lady Elizabeth was good, the captive queen could have been a lot lot better. I have given it a 4 star rating because its Weir and she is a great writer and I enjoyed the book.But....I did find it a little "mills and boonie" & also couldn't help but compare to Jean Plaidys Plantanagents series, the books about Eleanor and Henry far far superior than this. Which is a shame, Eleanor of Aquaitaine was some woman-sadly again its a period in history where we will never know the true womans voice, she must have been a very strong character, in this book that doesn't really come through. How did she turn her sons aginst their father and king? A marriage gone sour and not fully explored in this novel, but still its worth a read if your a historical fiction fan - if not pick up something else.
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