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Jul 13, 2010

Released Today: The Captive Queen by Alison Weir

Available now is the newest novel by Alison Weir. I reviewed this novel recently, and like all of the Weir books I've read, I really enjoyed this story but there were others who completely disliked the entirety of the novel. I felt that Weir gave an interesting interpretation of Eleanor of Aquitaine that I don't think is too far off base as for Eleanor's potential character, but of course no one really knows for sure what Eleanor was truly like. Which is why historical fiction is so alluring as it gives us a taste of what might have been.

Despite the first half of the new book being slightly off kilter, I would still recommend this novel to those readers who want to delve into more of Eleanor's character. It will be easy to shoot the novel down though for the lack of usual writing prowess that was indicative of Weir, so be aware that you might not want to spend your top dollar on this one. Perhaps you can find it at your library.

Read my review here. Of course, in hindsight, perhaps it should not have been a four star rating from me, but it was good enough for me as I wrote the review. I try to write my reviews the moment I read the book, so that everything is fresh in my mind. I like to be entertained, and if I felt I was entertained and not disappointed that merits a good rating from me. I am not one that is overly critical of writing styles, I don't like to nit-pick certain things or minor historical details as I am not a historian. I prefer a novel to help to place me in another time and place as it entertains me with the events of a historical time period. Weir did that with this one and this is why I gave it a four star rating. And who doesn't love Eleanor of Aquitaine?!
Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Alison Weir
 The Burton Review Rating:Four stars!

Having proven herself a gifted and engaging novelist with her portrayals of Queen Elizabeth I in The Lady Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey in Innocent Traitor, New York Times bestselling author Alison Weir now harks back to the twelfth century with a sensuous and tempestuous tale that brings vividly to life England’s most passionate—and destructive—royal couple: Eleanor of Aquitaine and King Henry II.

Nearing her thirtieth birthday, Eleanor has spent the past dozen frustrating years as consort to the pious King Louis VII of France. For all its political advantages, the marriage has brought Eleanor only increasing unhappiness—and daughters instead of the hoped-for male heir. But when the young and dynamic Henry of Anjou arrives at the French court, Eleanor sees a way out of her discontent. For even as their eyes meet for the first time, the seductive Eleanor and the virile Henry know that theirs is a passion that could ignite the world.
Returning to her duchy of Aquitaine after the annulment of her marriage to Louis, Eleanor immediately sends for Henry, the future King of England, to come and marry her. The union of this royal couple will create a vast empire that stretches from the Scottish border to the Pyrenees, and marks the beginning of the celebrated Plantagenet dynasty.
But Henry and Eleanor’s marriage, charged with physical heat, begins a fiery downward spiral marred by power struggles, betrayals, bitter rivalries, and a devil’s brood of young Plantagenets—including Richard the Lionheart and the future King John. Early on, Eleanor must endure Henry’s formidable mother, the Empress Matilda, as well as his infidelities, while in later years, Henry’s friendship with Thomas Becket will lead to a deadly rivalry. Eventually, as the couple’s rebellious sons grow impatient for power, the scene is set for a vicious and tragic conflict that will engulf both Eleanor and Henry.
Vivid in detail, epic in scope, Captive Queen is an astounding and brilliantly wrought historical novel that encompasses the building of an empire and the monumental story of a royal marriage.