Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine PDF/EPUB

Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine Nearing her thirtieth birthday, Eleanor of Aquitaine has spent the past dozen frustrating years as wife to the pious King Louis VII of France But when Henry of Anjou, the young and dynamic future king of England, arrives at the French court, he and the seductive Eleanor experience a mutual passion powerful enough to ignite the world Indeed, after the annulment of Eleanor s marriage to Louis and her remarriage to Henry, the union of this royal couple creates 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 and bitter betrayals Amid the rivalries and infidelities, the couple s rebellious sons grow impatient for power, and the scene is set for a vicious and tragic conflict that will threaten to engulf them all Alison Weir s fiction and her non fiction is normally exceptional this book didn t quite hit the mark her work normally reaches It was good, just not great I think Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most interesting women in history She was married to two different kings, and the mother ofShe quite likely had an affair with the father of her second husband before meeting and falling in love with his son She almost certainly had other extramarital affairs She inherited and ruled a hug Alison Weir s fiction and her non fiction is normally exceptional this book didn t quite hit the mark her work normally reaches It was good, just not great I think Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of the most interesting women in history She was married to two different kings, and the mother ofShe quite likely had an affair with the father of her second husband before meeting and falling in love with his son She almost certainly had other extramarital affairs She inherited and ruled a huge amount of land She felt betrayed by her second husband Henry, and in turn betrayed him in favor of her children and was imprisoned by him for years and years Despite being 11 years older than Henry, she outlived him by 15 years and outlived most of her children she had either 10 or 11 children in total She was passionate and outgoing, an equestrienne and a patron of the arts, and both loyal and scheming.Alison Weir s version starts when Eleanor s marriage to King Louis of France is crumbling Eleanor has wanted to annul it for some time, and after becoming lovestruck by Henry, she convinces Abbot Bernard that Louis needs to annul the union so he can remarry and have sons She claims that she and Louis are too closely related, and this is why they have only 2 daughters and no sons She immediately remarries Henry, despite him being evenclosely related, lol Most of the book covers the period of their tempestuous marriage.I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning and middle of this book, but it dragged a bit after Henry starts clashing with Eleanor and their sons, and while Eleanor is imprisoned But maybe I just don t find that part of Eleanor s life as exciting as some of the others I recommend to anyone who is a fan of Eleanor of Aquitaine, or anyone who enjoys historical fiction, or who liked Weir s non fiction books about Eleanor In this novel on the life of the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alison Weir tells the story of a queen with a strong sexual passion for her husband, Henry, even as her marriage to him begins to disintegrate We are first introduced to Eleanor lasciviously recollecting her sexual experiences with three previous lovers while one of them, Geoffrey of Anjou, with his eighteen year old son Henry beside him, is paying homage to her current husband, Louis VII of France Eleanor conceives a sudden pa In this novel on the life of the indomitable Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alison Weir tells the story of a queen with a strong sexual passion for her husband, Henry, even as her marriage to him begins to disintegrate We are first introduced to Eleanor lasciviously recollecting her sexual experiences with three previous lovers while one of them, Geoffrey of Anjou, with his eighteen year old son Henry beside him, is paying homage to her current husband, Louis VII of France Eleanor conceives a sudden passion for young Henry, the future King of England Her marriage to Louis is sexually unsatisfying, so she is ripe for Henry s bed That same night, and for two nights after, the lovers have the freedom to satisfy their desire in her bedchamber and pledge to wed The first half of the novel, where Eleanor gives birth to ten children in fourteen years concluding with the birth of Prince John, the novel is dominated by their sexual antics and their marital arguments Indeed, you can t readthan ten pages often fewer without a sexual act or some sexual reference This part of Eleanor s life is neither titillating nor interesting, only tedious In my opinion, Weir s sex driven Eleanor only serves to trivialize her because sex is what drives Eleanor and ultimately what drives this half of the novel, without sufficiently exploring Eleanor s other qualities, real or imagined Worse is that many, if not most, of Henry s and Eleanor s conversations occur in their bedchamber Assuming Eleanor has tasks, duties, and pleasures outside of her castles, I would like to have seenof the action and dialogue occurring outside their private chamber And then there s the inclusion of Eleanor s sister, Petronilla, who joins the royal household as companion to Eleanor on her marriage Yet Petronilla hardly gets a mention until fourteen years later at the birth of Prince John, supposedly after serving as the queen s companion all this time , where we are for some reason treated to her point of view for a paragraph or two, and then she promptly dies of drink This character, who had the potential to play an important and intimate role beside the queen, is never fully realized and begs the reader to ask why she is included at all After the birth of Prince John, weary finally from childbearing, unhappy with Henry s multiple infidelities, Eleanor distances herself from him and the book begins to breathe Suddenly, the dialogue is less awkward and slightly less melodramatic, the plot has a stronger historical foundation and is less sex driven, and Eleanor and Henry become a littlenuanced as they separate, age, and come together, while their children fight and betray their father Miss Weir handles the time of Eleanor s imprisonment skillfully enough, managing to tell the story of their turbulent marriage against a background fraught with familial conflict that criss cross two countries This half is better It is good If the first half had been, at the very least, its equal, I might have given The Captive Queen three stars Many reviewers have made such a big deal about Eleanor s sexuality in Captive Queen, but I frankly have no problem with it Eleanor did, after all, leave her first husband King Louis of France, for a younger, handsomer man and therefore apromising partner in the bedroom department , he who would later become King Henry II of England And Eleanor was not so righteous a woman as to divorce the King of France simply because she truly feared God s retribution Louis was a distant relative of Many reviewers have made such a big deal about Eleanor s sexuality in Captive Queen, but I frankly have no problem with it Eleanor did, after all, leave her first husband King Louis of France, for a younger, handsomer man and therefore apromising partner in the bedroom department , he who would later become King Henry II of England And Eleanor was not so righteous a woman as to divorce the King of France simply because she truly feared God s retribution Louis was a distant relative of Eleanor s, and their marriage had required a special dispensation from the Pope that declared their union non incestuous These accusations of incest were the very same grounds they used to attain their divorce Had that been the case, she would not have sought comfort and a second marriage in the arms of one who was of an even closer familial relation Eleanor and Henry were third cousins So, Weir asserts that Eleanor was an adventurous woman who sought a new life with an equally rebellious mate that Eleanor s famous utterance about her first husband, I thought I had married a king, but find that I have married a monk does in fact ring true She left Louis because she was bored she was a young woman trapped in a sham marriage with a man who would not even touch her, and she being the most beautiful woman in Christendom, felt her beauty and youth were wasted on a man who had far greater interest in the celestial than he did in earthly pleasures.The sex scenes are not graphic and are handled delicately enough that the reader can imagine for him herself what is going on under the bed sheetsWeir does not spell it out for you, as other Eleanor novels from the past year have done And I still wouldn t even consider this book a tried and true romance , although there is plenty of that within its pages But a two star rating on , mostly because the Eleanor Weir has created is, as some reviewers refer to her, oversexed This is Eleanor of Aquitaine we are talking about here The high priestess of The Courts of Love and a master of the art of flirtation So what if Eleanor enjoyed her time in the boudoir in this book I d be shocked if she didn t it would be like an author depriving Aphrodite of her sexuality I am definitely not one for a bodice ripper, but the heavy criticism this book has been receiving is without due People, quit being such prudes and enjoy this book for what it is a well imagined, informative and entertaining portrayal of one of history s most fabled queens If you re looking for a strictly the facts, ma am version, I suggest you read Weir s nonfiction take on Eleanor.Now, that being saidI did have other issues with this book The language, for example I found it much too modern Granted, I don t expect any 21st century medieval fiction novel to revert back to Ye Olde English, but certain turns of phrase and analogies struck me as glaringly anachronistic The pacing of the book also could have been improved upon, but this is often an issue with historians turned fiction authors, as most historians strive to include as many historical details as possible This type of writing is typically desirable to me, but some of the smaller details could have been briefly worked in with the rest of the story rather than having their own chapters Weir throws into the mix each and every Eleanor rumor that s been passed down through time, whether it be true in nature or false speculation This, too, perhaps slowed down the pacing, where the author could have chosen a less scattered story line to flesh out the characters a bitThe later two thirds of Captive Queen is pretty much sex free, and included my favorite part of Henry and Eleanor s story, the conflict with Thomas Becket.I really liked this book overall, despite some flaws that could be improved upon My favorite of Weir s historical fiction novels remains Innocent Traitor, and I don t think this one was as good as The Lady Elizabeth, either But I enjoyed the time I spent reading it becoming wrapped up in Eleanor s world These were the times of troubadours and Robin Hood, and she was a real life Guinevere, patron of the arts and beloved mother to her people She founded a new society of women who embodied all that legend and myth imagined a woman to be, emulating the queens of fairy tales and reveling in their femininity This book makes me eager to readabout this fascinating woman Nope I don t care DNF, pg 140 some I m fine with the trashier aspects of this book though they re grossly inflated by outraged maiden aunt reviews y all need to unclutch those pearls, else you ll do yourselves an injury What I can t forgive is the trifecta o boredom 1 As you know, Bob Yeah, SO MUCH of that 2 Time gaps Great honkin ones 3 Inflation of minutiae at the expense of Important Things happening offscreen stuff like attacking castles, illness, pregnancies, wench Nope I don t care DNF, pg 140 some I m fine with the trashier aspects of this book though they re grossly inflated by outraged maiden aunt reviews y all need to unclutch those pearls, else you ll do yourselves an injury What I can t forgive is the trifecta o boredom 1 As you know, Bob Yeah, SO MUCH of that 2 Time gaps Great honkin ones 3 Inflation of minutiae at the expense of Important Things happening offscreen stuff like attacking castles, illness, pregnancies, wenching, etc But why bother with those when we can have elegant, forward thinking Eleanor hammer yet another I Am Woman speech at her clueless, brutish husband YAY I ve read worse But the author needs to trim her index card infodumps focus on telling a good story, as opposed to a thesis on Eleanor s life times There s plenty of nonfiction re this era I want a PLOT I want ENTERTAINING INCIDENTS, not endless conversations DNF Lost the will to live at around page 200. Eleanor of Aquitaine was first married to King Louis of France, but he wasinterested spending his time in prayers than with his wife She s not happy and extremely bored and when it s suggested that Louis finds a new wife to get much needed male heir she s not resisting Then she meets young Henry FitzEmpress and it s insta lust from the start After Eleanor gets her divorce from Louis she and Henry marries without permission.I m still wondering why I ever started this book and how I manag Eleanor of Aquitaine was first married to King Louis of France, but he wasinterested spending his time in prayers than with his wife She s not happy and extremely bored and when it s suggested that Louis finds a new wife to get much needed male heir she s not resisting Then she meets young Henry FitzEmpress and it s insta lust from the start After Eleanor gets her divorce from Louis she and Henry marries without permission.I m still wondering why I ever started this book and how I managed to finish it I haven t been huge fan of her fiction books but this sure was something The sex scenes weren t so bad than I thought and not as graphic but I don t need sex scenes from the start At page 2 she s remembering her hot night with her future husband s father and it s downhill from there But then she sees Henry for the first time and forgets Geoffrey just like that and after just few hours after their first meeting Eleanor and Henry are having sex She s supposed to have had an affair with this troubadour guy too, and of course with her uncle Because if there s some ugly rumour ever spoken of Eleanor you can trust to find it in here As I said the sex wasn t that graphic but it also wasn t good and got very repetitive very soon And I m wondering how she managed to do all this without her servants knowing At page 22 we get this wonderful peace of informationHenry was surprised to find his father s muscles iron hard not bad for an old man of thirty eight, he thought He had glimpsed too Geoffrey s impressive manhood, and wondered seriously for the first time if his father had indeed been speaking the truth about knowing Eleanor carnally, and if he had, whether he had satisfied her as well as he, Henry, had done.Like any normal father son day, right Somehow Weir manages to turn this strong and intelligent woman into weak, childish, sex addicted woman And her portrayal of Henry isn t that better Where is this powerful man who s spectacular rages made men fear Instead we get someone who spends most of his time drinking, swiving random women at closets and other random places and stamping his foot when everything won t go as he planned There s some fighting between Eleanor and Henry but unfortunately it sounds like a 3 year old is having a tantrum.And if this all wasn t enough she had to make Beckett to be in love with Henry Like seriously I wasn t fan of the writing itself which was the biggest reason why I hated this But towards the end something happens and the writing get better and the characters started coming to life We actually get one moving scene between Eleanor and Henry regarding Rosamund.Speaking of writing, at some point after she has given birth she s thinking about how queen s can t raise their kids and breastfeed them by themselves and then few pages after she puts the baby to her breast Ouch I think this is time to stop reading her fiction books and not even try her next book Let me start by saying this is not a book for everyone.Being familiar with Ms Weir s previous novels, both the historical and the historical fiction, Captive Queen takes on the subject of a woman who lived a very interesting life Trying to condense everything that happened to Eleanor of Aquitaine and keep it interesting was a very large task.This is a fictional account, using what knowledge there is from surviving reports of the actual period of Eleanor s life, but that still leaves gaps The Let me start by saying this is not a book for everyone.Being familiar with Ms Weir s previous novels, both the historical and the historical fiction, Captive Queen takes on the subject of a woman who lived a very interesting life Trying to condense everything that happened to Eleanor of Aquitaine and keep it interesting was a very large task.This is a fictional account, using what knowledge there is from surviving reports of the actual period of Eleanor s life, but that still leaves gaps The author even says so at the end of the book Instead of being sensationalist and basing things on conjecture and rumors much like the historical novels by Philippa Gregory Ms Weir does her best to fill the gaps with events emotions ideals that fit and keep well within what might have happened.I came to this book knowing virtually nothing about Eleanor of Aquitaine or Henry II In some ways that made this novel very riveting for me At other times the pace crawled so slowly that even though I wanted to know what was going to happen I ended up having to put it down and walk away for a while before continuing There was a lot to cover in terms of subject matter, when you re trying to account for the 37 years of marriage and all that went on during them.Yes, there s a lot of sexual scenes in this book At first it was rather overwhelming but that was what truly bound Eleanor and Henry from the first their lust for one another The sex scenes were pretty tame especially compared to Philippa Gregory s books and their inclusion was important to truly understand their union.As I said, this book is not for everyone I would suggest either of Ms Weir s other two historical fiction novels, Innocent Traitor or Lady Elizabeth , to start with to see if you enjoy Ms Weir s take on historical persons Captive Queen could very much overwhelm you, especially if you re not remotely familiar with the subject matter historical period and its sheer size nearly 500 pages in paperback can at times feel like it will never end.I enjoyed the book Eleanor of Aquitaine was certainly one of those rare women in history that held her own in a world of men Even when she was subjected to imprisonment by her own husband, it did not kill her spirit Her story, along with the story of Henry II and their children, made meinterested in reading other books about the long line of English kings I m most familiar with the Tudors but have increasingly begun to branch out to those that came before them.If I had to chose between Ms Weir and Philippa Gregory, I would easily go with Ms Weir, as she seems to beintuitive when it comes to historical fiction and doesn t rely on unfounded claptrap and sensationalism The book begins with Eleanor s divorce from King Louis of France It is known that she was quite the unfaithful wife and was not at all physically attracted to him She did her duty twice to breed an heir only to give birth to two daughters Louis, regardless of her behavior, was actually quite in love with Eleanor, but eventually acquiesced to her wishes Upon separation she reclaimed her duchy of Aquitaine Soon after she married King Henry of England, a man who also could meet her marital exp The book begins with Eleanor s divorce from King Louis of France It is known that she was quite the unfaithful wife and was not at all physically attracted to him She did her duty twice to breed an heir only to give birth to two daughters Louis, regardless of her behavior, was actually quite in love with Eleanor, but eventually acquiesced to her wishes Upon separation she reclaimed her duchy of Aquitaine Soon after she married King Henry of England, a man who also could meet her marital expectations But GOOD LORD Can they just stop having sex for a minute I never knew Alison Weir wrote this sort of book What happened to the history She has turned one of the most notorious, powerful queens of medieval England into a frivolous, vapid, horny piece of fluff 2017 Reading Challenge author from a country I ve never visited I don t think I have ever stopped reading a book so quickly before, and the only reason I got as far as I did was because I was stuck on the busride to swimming lessons with my class, and needed something to do to pass the time I kept hoping if I continued reading it would begin to get better, as I was interested in finding outabout the passionate yet volatile relationship between King Henry the II and Eleanor of Aquitaine The first quality that annoyed me about this book was that it re I don t think I have ever stopped reading a book so quickly before, and the only reason I got as far as I did was because I was stuck on the busride to swimming lessons with my class, and needed something to do to pass the time I kept hoping if I continued reading it would begin to get better, as I was interested in finding outabout the passionate yet volatile relationship between King Henry the II and Eleanor of Aquitaine The first quality that annoyed me about this book was that it read sort of like a steamy medieval Harlequin romance I have no problem with intimate scenes in novels, but the historical novels I have previously read expressed the scenes with language that indicated passion, etc but didn t sound so 20th century smutty I almost snorted out loud a couple times at the ridiculous phrases Which leads me to my second criticism the language was almost too contemporary with medieval characters using modern day slang like Soyou re hot for the queen, huh I highly doubt noblemen of the day used words like hot for to describe lusting after a woman It completely destroyed any ability to take the novel seriously and it certainly didn t transport the reader back to medieval Europe The last issue I had with this book is the tendency of the author to spell out everything for the reader, often using her characters to directly verbalize the things that a good author would allow the reader to infer, or would at least connect the dotssubtlely for the reader Within their first moments alone, Henry and Eleanor don t just talk like new lovers, but also expound on how fortunate it would be for Henry to marry her and that would make him the most powerful man in Europe, because she is the heiress to lands here, there and everywhere etc, which not only sounds too explanatory for a sophisticated novel, but also doesn t seem like credible dialogue between 2 people who have just spent themselves in the throes of passion Way to much telling instead of showing I was deeply disappointed in this novel as I had heard so many good things about the writing of Alison Weir Perhaps her actual historical writing about the Wars of the Roses and the Princes in the Tower is better because she wouldn t have to add in stupid dialogue and depth less characterization So in all, I would say to avoid this book unless you want some cheap laughs at the cheesy love scenes ha ha


About the Author: Alison Weir

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the GoodReads database with this name.Alison Weir is a British writer of history books for the general public, mostly in the form of biographies about British kings and queens, and of historical fiction Before becoming an author, Weir worked as a teacher of children with special needs She received her formal training in history at teacher training college She currently lives in Surrey, England, with her two children.


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