Monday, January 25, 2010

The Courts of Love

Jean Plaidy

When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me—my triumphs and most of my misfortunes—was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal—and in many ways their superior—but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner—an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was revered for her superior intellect, extraordinary courage, and fierce loyalty. She was equally famous for her turbulent relationships, which included marriages to the kings of both France and England.

In this majestic and sweeping story, set against a backdrop of medieval politics, intrigue, and strife, Jean Plaidy weaves a tapestry of love, passion, betrayal, and heartbreak—and reveals the life of a most remarkable woman whose iron will and political savvy enabled her to hold her own against the most powerful men of her time.

My Take:

I L-O-V-E historical fiction, I admit, but, I do try to be fair in my reviews, meaning that just because something belongs to my favorite genre, does not mean it automatically gets a glowing review (example?  See Too Great a Lady)  But this is probably one of the best historical fiction books I've ever read.  It is very thorough (alright alright it does drag in the middle for a bit, but picks up again) and really let's you get a feel for the woman who is the ancestor of basically all of English royalty.  The book is delightfully scandalous.  I love books with romantic intrigue, but I also like when they skip the details, as this book does.  I don't need to hear about heaving bosoms, etc, but it is fun to read about who is romancing who, and so on.  Eleanor was a woman totally ahead of her time, she was strong, smart, beautiful, powerful, and boy did she know it!  She is excellently portrayed as a real human being, which can be difficult to imagine with some historical figures.  You are rooting for her but sometimes she drives you crazy with mistakes she makes.  The action flows pretty well, like I said before, it slows down in a few parts, but really, that is par for the course with historical fiction, because you have to know what is going on historically as a backdrop to the intrigue.  The characters are rich and each one unique, just as in reality.  If you love scandal, you'll love this book, it would almost be more fitting to call the book, Courts of Scandal.  I whole-heartedly give this book a 1, Pay Full Price.  It is one you will want on your bookshelf permanently that you might read it again and again.

Do you agree with my review?  Do you think I'm totally off base?  Either way I'd love to hear from you.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me how you feel!

If you enjoy historical fiction, check out my Historical Fiction Section.  My favorite titles are Nefertiti, The Other Boleyn Girl, and The Perfect Royal Mistress.

Lookin' for more lovin'?  Check out the Romance Section.

If you are interested in more titles that discuss the Crusades, check out The Jester by James Patterson

If this book were a movie it would likely be rated PG-13.  While there are no details regarding the sexual exploits in the book, and the language is tame, there are themes present which may be unsuitable for younger audiences.  The book contains themes of incest, immorality, infidelity, homosexuality, and war.  Again, no details, but the themes are present.


Tia said...

I am a huge historical fiction fan as well! This books sounds exactly like something I would love. Thanks for the great review. I might just have to go get it on my Kindle now!

The Book Buff said...

If you love historical fiction, your going to love this book. Eleanor was a woman way ahead of her time! Enjoy, and let me know how you like it!

Marie said...

I have heard such great things about this book.. i really need to jump on it someday. It has been on my shelf for almost two years.


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