I received a netgalley version of The Summer Queen from Sourcebooks for my review.
About the Book:
About the Author:
Elizabeth Chadwick (UK) is the author of 17 historical novels, including The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion, A Place Beyond Courage, Lords of the White Castle, Shadows and Strongholds, the Winter Mantle, and The Falcons of Montabard, four of which have been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Awards.
I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Chadwick’s writing so when I learned her next project was a trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine I was thrilled. I patiently waited ’til I could get my hands on it and then I read it in a day and a half. It was everything I knew it would be and now I can’t wait for the next installment.
The Summer Queen covers her life from just before her father’s death until shortly after her marriage to Henry of Anjou. I am presuming in this review that anyone choosing to read this book knows the basics of Eleanor’s life as so much as been written about her. The main focus of this book is her life with Louis VII of France. She was an intelligent woman now married to a stick in the mud who was surrounded by advisers that resented anyone influencing the King, even his wife.
Eleanor tried to make her marriage work as the novel progresses but Louis was so caught up in his religious fervor and she was so looked down upon by those advisers that their relations soon soured. She was lambasted for not conceiving an heir but she went into the marriage at 13 years old! Couple that with Louis thinking relations were just about sinful and you can imagine.
What makes this book sing is Ms. Chadwick’s magical way of transporting her readers back into the time of her characters. The writing pulls you into time and place in such a way that you can almost feel the fabrics, smell the perfumes, taste the foods. There are very few writers who transport me like this and I know when I pick up one of Ms. Chadwick’s books I will be in for a treat. Once I do I find them hard to put down. Her characterizations are spot on and she does her research. There are the familiar stories about Eleanor but there are other tidbits that I hadn’t known before. There is an excellent author’s note at the end which I always appreciate.
If you love Eleanor of Aquitaine you will love The Summer Queen.
You can purchase The Summer Queen at Sourcebooks.com