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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

3.84  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,379 Ratings  ·  222 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
Feb 02, 2011 Jessica rated it it was amazing
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.
Jul 04, 2014 Claire rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book because I have enjoyed all the books I have currently read by EL Konigsburg. This was was SO different; especially since I had no idea what it was about before starting it. It is actually historical fiction/ is about Queen Eleanor and King Henry II back in the twelfth century. Konigsburg states in the front fold of the book that all facts and events about Eleanor in the book are true, which makes it a very interesting book. I definitely want to read more abo ...more
Georgina Ortiz
Jun 18, 2015 Georgina Ortiz rated it really liked it
Before there was an Elizabeth, a Daenerys or a Cersei, there was Eleanor of Aquitaine. Part vixen, part kick-ass heroine, she was more queen than any of her contemporaries—or (arguably) any queen in history, for that matter.

This book (more YA than full-blown historical fiction) somehow managed to capture the Duchess of Aquitaine's razzle and dazzle in 200 pages. Interesting concept, witty writing.

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
Apr 17, 2011 Esther rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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
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.
Krista Baetiong Tungol
This is a quick and funny read about the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine as a wife, a mother and a queen. The story follows her in heaven with three of her closest contemporaries—Abbot Suger, Empress Matilda and William Marshal—as they await the outcome of the divine judgment that will finally allow or deny Henry II, Eleanor’s second husband, admittance to heaven. Henry is already 800 years dead but still in hell serving penance and in the dark about the changes and goings on of the world (In the s ...more
Apr 06, 2009 Elyssa rated it liked it
Shelves: books-for-school
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Jun 04, 2009 Amanda rated it it was ok
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
Nov 25, 2012 Keilani Ludlow rated it liked it
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
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
Krista O
May 06, 2015 Krista O rated it liked it
A Proud taste for scarlet and miniver was about a girl named Eleanor and three of her life long friends telling their stories about Eleanor's life.
I thought this book was a good and fun book to read. I thought this book was a little confusing at times because the book wen from the present to the past over and over again. But overall this was a good book to read.
Made me giggle. A lot of 'telling' in this one, but it works—takes some cues from Chaucer, perhaps? Anyway, Eleanor of Aquitaine has been dragging around in Heaven for quite some time, and she is just a wee bit bored and quite tetchy, and it pleases me greatly. Interesting choice of who gets to tell the tale: in addition to Eleanor (who gets the last words, as befits a queen), Abbot Suger (who is very proud of his own humility) tells a part, and Empress Matilda, and William the Marshall—unusual ...more
Sep 04, 2007 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to be Queen
Shelves: favorites, badgirls
Reading this book prompts me to sport a rhinestone tiara and play Queen for the Day. It's about Elinor of Aquitaine, the ruthless woman who was first Queen of France, then Queen of England. A PROUD TASTE FOR SCARLET AND MINIVER depicts Elinor waiting for her second husband, King Henry II, to be judged for admission to Heaven. If you're the type of woman who hates waiting in line, taking orders, or being called "hon," this book is for you. You'll take great comfort in the story of a woman who roa ...more
Nov 21, 2012 Joyce rated it liked it
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
Lawrence Lin
Oct 02, 2014 Lawrence Lin rated it it was amazing
The National Book Award Finalist-winning book "A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver" by E.L. Konigsburg is a very interesting book. When I picked this book at first, it seemed boring to me. I looked through the first few pages and I thought that it was actually interesting. The protagonist of this story is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, a unique queen. Before Eleanor was sent to Heaven, she did many history-changing things. Four people: Abbot Suger, Matilda-Empress, William the Marshal, and Queen ...more
Mina Han
Mar 02, 2014 Mina Han rated it liked it
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
Oct 23, 2014 cookiemonger rated it really liked it
I really liked this. It's quite short, but I spread it out by reading it in between other books. Eleanor of Aquitaine has always intrigued me, and it was fun to see John vilified again. My favourite part is when Richard tells him to wipe his nose, and then John does so--on Richard's shirt. Apparently I'm still nine.

Basically, while awaiting Henry II's possible entrance into heaven, Eleanor of Aquitaine and important people she knew during her lifetime (Henry's mother, an abbot whom Eleanor consi
Carol Arce
May 02, 2016 Carol Arce rated it really liked it
I didn't care too much for the basic structure of this book: the various narrators sitting around Heaven chatting about the past to pass the time. Though I understand Konigsburg used this type of structure because she wanted a device to bring all her narrators together. I found most of the Heaven scenes somewhat trite and corny.
But I did think the idea of using four different narrators to tell about the parts of Eleanor's life that they were most intimately involved in was rather clever. These
Apr 05, 2016 Maureen rated it really liked it
Assigned reading for my 8th grade English class, this book was probably my first foray into the category of historical fiction. To me, PTSM (as it was fondly and not so fondly referred to in my class) was a predecessor for novels like "The Other Boleyn Girl" and other novels about European monarchies. Eleanor of Aquitaine definitely became a certain favorite historical woman and I loved rereading this small novel. The style is nothing like the genre that Phillippa Gregory spawned because this bo ...more
Scribbler King
Mar 11, 2011 Scribbler King rated it really liked it
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.
Adaline Griffiths
Jan 20, 2016 Adaline Griffiths rated it really liked it
This book had a very interesting view point. The whole idea of the book is looking on Eleanor's life from heaven, from several different viewpoints.
I like that different people don't repeat the same story. I also like that we are able to see several sides of different stories, so that it all fits together in the end. I liked that we very clearly understood what was happening, who was speaking and why they were gathering. There were several scenes that occurred in heaven, but most were about the
Aug 07, 2007 Laura rated it liked it
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?
Aug 23, 2015 Margie rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I came across this gem at Powell's City of Books in Portland, Oregon. My freshman World History students have been clamoring for a replacement to the standard summer reading assignment of David Howarth's 1066, which is admittedly a bit dense for them, although the topic and the method are perfect. I've finally found it with E.L. Konigsburg's history-rich tale of Eleanor of Aquitaine awaiting the arrival of her true love, Henry II, in heaven. The history comes from her chats with Abbot Suger, her ...more
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.
May 07, 2014 Audrey rated it liked it
THis book had a certain uniqueness to it. This book is about Queen Eleanor of Aquataine (I don't believe I spelled that correctly) awaiting the judgment of her husband, as in, wether he will go to Heaven or not. As she anxiously waits, she sits with old friends and tells her life story. This book was humorous at points, and definitely got me to read more. I read this for a school assignment, not a book I would even touch. I read it and had fun discussing it. It was well written, had some good vo ...more
Jul 27, 2007 Margie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
I LOVED teaching this book to my middle schoolers.
Dec 09, 2015 Lena rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by one of my old school teachers but I tried reading it then and couldn't really understand it. Especially it being an e.l. konigsburg book it can get really complicated at times. So I came back to it this year and I've been reading it at home aside from the book I'm reading at school and I really like it. I like how it's a biography..and autobiography written from many different point of views, because each chapter (or a few chapters) are written from a different ...more
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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
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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.” 3 likes
“...loved him beyond reason, but then, all love is beyond reason.” 1 likes
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