A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  1,739 ratings  ·  167 reviews
While waiting in heaven for divine judgment to be passed on her second husband, Eleanor of Aquitaine and three of the people who knew her well recall the events of her life.
Paperback, 208 pages
Published October 1st 2001 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (first published 1973)
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Lisa the Librarian
I especially anticipated reading this book for a couple of reasons.

1 - I love other books by this author especially From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, McBeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth.

2 - The book tells the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, from whom, I am decended.

I really liked the execution of the unfolding of the story. Eleanor is in heaven with people she knew during her mortal life, they are awaiting the decision of whether or not her husband...more
Rachel
I'm sure there are some who didn't like this book, but I thought it was pretty well done especially since it was written in the late 1970s. The book is about Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, who is one of my favorite historical women in history. I especially liked how the tale was narrated from heaven by contemporaries of Eleanor, and how she has been in heaven for 500 more years than her husband Henry, who is about to find out if he can come up to heaven. I thought it was amusing that both Eleanor,...more
Esther
Not my favorite Konigsburg by any means, maybe only 2.5 stars. But I do wish I had read this historical fiction (I guess?) account of Eleanor of Aquitaine back in high school when I did a report on her than the horrible books I did read. I might not of been able to use this as a cited reference but it would of helped me to make more sense of all the names, places, culture and facts in all the other books and maybe the whole research paper would of been a little more intersting for having been fl...more
Jessica
I read this book, like so many of Konigsburg's, over and over as a kid. I was probably the only fifth grader at my school who not only knew who Eleanor of Aquitaine was, but could rattle off details of her life as easily as talking about an old friend. The wonderful, personal way that this book is written makes it easy to read and remember the details of Eleanor's life, and I am pretty much still waiting for Konigsburg or another author to do the same thing for other historical figures.
Beth
I don't often call it quits with a book that I begin reading. Especially before I give it a fair chance. But I just couldn't get past the fact that the characters were sitting around in the afterlife, discussing their former lives and wondering who would be allowed out of purgatory next. Especially after just reading Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, I just couldn't stomach it.
Elyssa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kay
Apr 01, 2012 Kay added it
Captive Queen led me to re-read A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E.L. Konigsburg for the umpteenth time. It still holds up. And the historical detail dovetails perfectly with the scholarly effort of Alison Weir. This book may have been written for older children, but I enjoy it every time. The premise is that several of Eleanor’s contemporaries have moved Up to Heaven and are gathered to find out if Henry is finally going to join them. We have brief scenes in Heaven as each of the charac...more
Amanda
While waiting for her husband, Henry II, to join her in Heaven, Eleanor of Aquitane reminisces about some of the events of her remarkable life. She is joined on this walk down memory lane by her mother in law and her priest. This was a pretty quick and enjoyable read for me. I find stories about the life and times of Eleanor of Aquitane fascinating... No, Really... I do. Married to two kings, Louis the ? of France and Henry II of England: Mother of two kings; Richard II and King John I of Magna...more
Keilani Ludlow
I seem to be on a Konigsburg kick. A telling of the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. While maybe not the best person, certainly not the worst, and definitely an amazing woman in history. It is told from the perspective some who knew her, with comments from her, as they wait in heaven for her second husband to join them. I had read an "adult" history of her a long time ago and remembered bits and pieces. She was truly a unique woman. Powerful and driven and intelligent. Able to stand up for herself...more
Bobbie
This book had an interesting premise. Eleanor of Aquitaine is in heaven waiting for her second husband, Henry II of England, to be judged. She has been waiting for him for a long time, because he has had to suffer for some of his actions on earth for many years. While she is waiting, her mother-in-law, a bishop, and a knight, all take turns telling about different parts of her life - with Eleanor herself filling them in on the end of it.

The premise is interesting, and for a historic fiction boo...more
Joyce
A very readable biography of a fascinating historical figure, a woman I've been intrigued by since I first learned about her back in grade school. And the more I know about her, the more impressed I am. The tale of Eleanor's life is told here by three who lived her story too, and are now reminiscing in heaven some eight centuries later. Lots of interesting facts and educated guesses anchor Konigsburg's creative tale, and I learned a lot of things I didn't know. Amazing to think that just one per...more
Mina Han
El Konigsburg's piece, A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver was a beautiful book of historical fiction. The book takes place in the twentieth century at a holy place called Heaven. Eleanor of Aquitaine passes her time while awaiting the dictation for her second husband, King Henry II's arrival in heaven by chatting with her three old friends, Abbot Sugar, Empress Matilda, and William Marshall. They gossip about the ones on Earth and the ones up in Heaven and eventually lead to each four of them...more
Bonnie Gayle
Eleanor of Aquitane is waiting for her second husband to assend to heaven, and to help her pass the time, since she is rather impatient, three people who knew her take turns telling the story of her life.

Really, it's as simple as that, and I thought it was an interesting device to use, but one that could have been better utilized. For example, the three narrators have distinctive voices, but they could have been even more so. But mostly, I thought that it would have been more interesting to have...more
Scribbler King
I think I would give this a five, but something just didn't pull me in. The story was interesting, the characters were good, but maybe I wanted something more.... Well, maybe it was meant for a younger audience than me. I felt like it was too...simple, I think. Quick read, good book, highly recommended if you want to know more about the famous Queen Eleanor. Keep in mind my review is about why I didn't give it 5 stars.
Laura
Aug 07, 2007 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: rachel anne (though she's probably already read it)
Shelves: childrensbooks
i wish i liked konigsburg more. i recognize that she is very good, but her books are always really dense and slow. i enjoyed reading about eleanor of aquitaine - and i certainly know more about her than i did before - but i am now reading with my kids in mind and i don't think any of them will enjoy it. i felt similarly about "a view from saturday." too slow for our adhd culture. is it the book? is it us?
Mahala
Definitely more entertaining and informative than the last book I read on Eleanor. I think I'll have to rank this one of my favourites in historical fiction. Looking forward to reading The Second Mrs Gioconda next.
Margie
I LOVED teaching this book to my middle schoolers.
Magda
Weird, but interesting.
Megan
Reread. I remember checking out this book from the library multiple times when I was about twelve or so, and I'm happy to report it stood up to yet another reread as an adult.

Up in heaven, Eleanor of Aquitaine is waiting, impatiently and a bit impertinently, to find out if her husband Henry II will finally be judged to have served enough time "Below." To help her pass time before the verdict, three figures from her life--Abbot Suger, who knew her at the time of her marriage to Louis VII; Empress...more
Kellyn
Proud, feisty Eleanor of Aquitaine impatiently waits in heaven to find if her husband, Henry, is going to finally be allowed into heaven. Eleanor and Henry haven’t seen each other for 800 years, in part because Henry had to spend so much time “below.”

Eleanor waits for the verdict with three people who knew her at different times in her life: Abbot Suger, her tutor and friend; Matilda-Empress, her second mother-in-law; and William the Marshall, her knight and guard. These three tell each other ab...more
Selena
Its a novel about the life of Elenor of Aquitaine (wife of Henry II/ mom to Richard I and Prince John), she is actually her own narrator, from heaven after her death. The novel is written for younger audiences, but its a good, clear introduction to her life story and she was a remarkable woman. She was one of the most powerful (if not the> most powerful) women in medievel europe. She was raised to be the duchess of Aquitaine and educated by her father at a time when educating girls wasn't eve...more
Tory
"But Eleanor's life had not been perfect; she had done some things on Earth for which there had been some Hell to pay, so she had not arrived in Heaven immediately. Finally, the world's poets had pleaded and won her case Eleanor had been a friend of music and poetry while she had lived, and musicians, artists and poets play in important role in the admissions policies of Heaven..."

What a pleasingly whimsical premise: both about Heaven and Hell, and the role creators play in helping one near the...more
Gale
HUMOROUS HISTORICAL FACT BLENDED WITH HEAVENLY FICTION!

This review is from: Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (Paperback)
If this is historical, it is hysterical: give me more! What a delightful presentation of what is usually dry, historical fact. This book is the perfect vehicle to introduce middle school students to the Middle Ages, where human nature is revealed at its worst (just like nowadays). Let's hear it for the start of the Women's Movement --centuries before Elizabeth I. Between t...more
Jennifer
I love Eleanor of Aquitaine, and I love E. L. Konigsburg, so this book is a match made in heaven. I have read several articles on Eleanor, and one of my favorite plays/movies is The Lion in Winter. Of course I never met the great Queen, but historically her voice and personality comes down through the ages as a firebrand and a truly amazing person, an equal to Henry II.

Particularly in this book, I loved the use of those men closest to the Queen to describe her life while she awaits the arrival o...more
mstan
This is the story of a pretty awesome lady, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Not only did she live to the ripe old age of close to 80 in the 12th-13th centuries, and wield a lot of power, she bore numerous children, effectively divorced her first husband, and, um, supported her own sons' rebellions against her second husband.

Konigsburg has three different people - an abbot, Eleanor's second mother-in-law, and a knight - tell Eleanor's story from the vantage point of Heaven. I'm not sure if I quite apprecia...more
Allie
A relatively quick read but still beautifully written. I haven't read much Konisburg other than the most famous, but she writes well in all sorts of genres. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a wonderfully well-rounded character who comes to life again, just as she might have been several centuries ago. She is not modernized but still has that special and necessary quality of relatability.
Kristen
So I couldn't fall back asleep this morning, so I decided to start reading this one since the current book was in the other room. And I read the whole thing in less than two hours. :)

Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of my favorite queens, therefore I'll give just about any historical fiction novel about her a try. This one is definitely aimed at a younger audience. I didn't learn anything new (in fact, I'm pretty sure there was some wrong information in there at one point), but it was entertaining no...more
Starla Blake
e. l. konigsburg creates a framework for telling the story of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine through the eyes of four historical figures sitting on clouds in Heaven as they wait for King Henry II to come up from Purgatory to be judged for admission into Heaven. They reminisce through flashbacks as each presents the story from his or her perspective. While this framework comes off as a bit corny (even for a book geared toward young people), the book does present a great deal of history from the Middl...more
Megan
This is the book that kicked off my obsession with Eleanor of Aquitane in middle school/ early high school. I even started writing a "Royal Diaries" style historical fiction book on her until they came out with their own version (which was very disappointing).

Okay, so the theology of Heaven and Hell is... unusual to say the least, but once you get past the framing device, the actual historical parts are so interesting and vivid. I love how we get to see her life from so many different angles, a...more
Kris
An interesting bit of historical fiction, written for younger readers. Through three different narrators (and through Eleanor herself), we follow the life of Eleanor of Aquitane, wife of two kings and mother to two more.
The premise to the book's narration is a bit odd - Eleanor and the other narrators are in heaven, waiting while her second husband - King Henry II of England - is judged for admission to heaven. While they wait, they take turns telling each other the history of Eleanor's life.
Oth...more
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2713
Elaine Lobl Konigsburg was an American author and illustrator of children's books and young adult fiction. She was the only author to win the Newbery Medal and a Newbery Honor in the same year (1968), with her second and first books respectively: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. Kongisburg won a second Newbery...more
More about E.L. Konigsburg...
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler The View from Saturday Silent to the Bone The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth

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“There were times when the bad and the sad could have weighed me down. But to drink life from only the good is to taste only half of it.” 2 likes
“...loved him beyond reason, but then, all love is beyond reason.” 1 likes
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