Denis's Reviews > Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe

Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone
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May 02, 10


Fast paced, illuminating, intelligently written and constructed, this historical non-fiction book is many, many stories in one - with, at its center and matrix, four fascinating sisters who, born in a world of privilege during the Middle Ages, all became queens. Wars, rivalries, betrayals, love, tragic deaths, royal splendor, it's all there, and it's all true. This is a wonderful painting of Europe at a turning point of its history - which not only makes the world of the Middle Ages accessible to anyone, but also helps us understand the soul and mind of old Europe - and therefore of contemporary Europe, too. The individual portraits at the heart of the story are vivid, and they intertwine adroitly with the portraits of the countries where the action takes place (mostly France and England), of the dynasties that fought and ruled , of the events that happened (some of them quite shocking - as the disastrous crusades led by the French king Louis, revered in France as St Louis). Somehow, Goldstone manages to make a very complex story understandable without simplifying it, and she obviously understands the world she describes, and how Europe society functioned.
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