Laura's Reviews > Captive Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine

Captive Queen by Alison Weir
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's review
Mar 15, 2011

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Read in March, 2011

I almost think of Alison Weir's fiction as interchangeable with Philippa Gregory, which I'm not sure is a great thing. Weir wrote a biography on Eleanor of Aquitaine, so I have to think that most of the history is correct here. It's well-written, though it glosses over her early life and first marriage to focus on her relationship with Henry, which was the key relationship in her life.

Their marriage and life was fascinating to me; she was an incredible woman at a time when it wasn't easy to be a strong woman. The part of the book that grew tiresome for me were the prophecies; also, the whole troubadour thing got a little old after a while. I had some difficulty believing that she was faithful to Henry for as long as she was (I'm going on Weir's history here). Also, the court is described as lushly - and fairly similar to - an Elizabethan court. This was barely out of Medieval times - there is very little description of the harshness of her life, though compared to non-royals it would have been very lush. I recently read the biography of Ann Neville (Queen to Richard III), and while that's later in time, the conditions of the castles, lifestyle, etc were more helpful. Given the roughness and violence of the men around her, I think that a more accurate description of their surroundings and how they lived could have helped explain that.

Definitely worth reading - and I'm going to check out that biography too.

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