Monday, 10 January 2011

The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Title: The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine
Author: Pamela Kaufman
Type: Historical Fiction
Pages: 506
Published: 2002
ISBN #0-609-60906-8

Synopsis: In the early 12th century, 15 year old Eleanor becomes the Duchess of Aquitaine, a wealthy and powerful province in France. Soon after, Eleanor is married to Louis VII of France, a sickly religious fanatic who keeps his young wife under lock and key, fearing that she'll be adulterous. He even takes her on his Crusade in order to keep an eye on her.

Once she is able to have her marriage to Louis annulled, Eleanor hopes to marry her childhood love Baron Rancon but suddenly finds herself violently forced into a marriage to Henry II of England. Their marriage is marred by secrets and escalates into open warfare when Eleanor begins a rebellion against her husband in hopes to save her beloved Aquitaine which Henry covets. Henry vows revenge and imprisons Eleanor for 15 years hoping that she will die in obscurity. While in prison, Eleanor writes her memoires; this book is said to be that memoire.

My Thoughts: I enjoyed this book ... until around page 350 when it the story slowed down dramatically. In the beginning of the book I really enjoyed learning more about France and England in the 12th century -- not an era I've read much about in the past. Typically, when I read historical fiction it has been mostly in Scotland and England. Learning about France and the Crusades was quite interesting. If only Kaufman could have kept up the momentum.

I didn't enjoy the ending at all. It felt like it was just thrown together haphazardly and too abruptly.

My Rating: 2/5 (aka "meh")


Janssen said...

So many books can be accurately described as "meh," I think. Tragic.

Laurie said...

I agree Janssen,
After reading a 500 page book I expect more. It feels like such a let down ... especially when the author came up with such a wonderful storyline but just couldn't make it work. Oh well, on to another book. :)

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