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The Summer Queen

(Eleanor of Aquitaine #1)

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  8,127 ratings  ·  762 reviews
The Woman
The Legend
The Beginning

At the age of thirteen, Eleanor of Aquitaine is forced to leave everything she knows behind, marry a man she doesn't love, and take the throne to reign as the Queen of France. Eleanor's new life is full of risk--and unlimited opportunity. Barely out of childhood and faced with great scandals, fraught relationships, and forbidden love at ever
Paperback, 494 pages
Published July 1st 2014 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published June 20th 2013)
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Paula Mildenhall
I often ask myself what drives me to keep reading novels about figures I know so well. I have read numerous biographies on Eleanor of Aquitaine, I have read about her in novels and I have travelled to France and England to walk in her footsteps. I know all of the key points in her life, the known facts, yet I have an insatiable need to get further inside her head. Hence, I have been counting down the days until I could get my hands on The Summer Queen. I had already met Alienor (Eleanor) in Eliz ...more
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read in 2013. Reread in 2016.
It was quite an experience to read The Summer Queen as I had virtually no knowledge at all of the history of the royals of Europe during the middle ages. Yes I admit it. It is not a period that has attracted me much. So it was a bit of a challenge. It was a treat to see maps and family trees on the first pages of the book and a little intimidating. I studied these dutifully before reading as I feared there may be a quiz later.

This was the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine (future Queen of France an
My standards might have been too high for this one to meet. I cannot read the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine without having Sharon Kay Penman's novels in the back of my mind. Chadwick's version has a different focus, so far, looking at Eleanor as a young girl and Queen of France, so that was a point in its favor.

While a time of anarchy reigned in England, Eleanor was a pampered heiress of the southern duchy of Aquitaine. Her father arranged what should have been a glorious match with
BAM Endlessly Booked
"When the light from the vase had spilled onto the tablecloth, he had taken it as a sign from God that the forthcoming marriage was divinely blessed."

Not so much

Eleanor is thought to be one of the most influential women in Western Civilization. Born to be a ruler she married King Louis VII of France at a very young age. They were an unhappy couple producing two daughters, finally annulling their marriage about 15 years later.
This book is Book One in a series, which follows Eleanor from childhoo
A novel about one of my favorite historical characters written by one of my favorite authors. I love how much detail is included, yet so easy to read. It's hard to put down. I read the whole book in one day!!! You won't be disappointed. Full review on my blog: ...more
Also published on Luthien Reviews.

At the beginning of The Summer Queen, we meet thirteen-year-old Alienor, the eldest daughter and heir of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, on the eve of her father’s pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. When the sickly duke dies on the pilgrimage road, Alienor becomes the new duchess. She soon learns that she must marry the dauphin of France, Prince Louis, in order to keep her peace among vassals. She does so reluctantly and, though Louis is handsome and k
Rio (Lynne)
Chadwick......we have high expectations and she never let's us down. I even ordered my copy from England because I couldn't wait for the US release. Finally a book on Alienor for grown ups. Alienor isn't a tramp, as so many popular historians and HF books like to make her out to be for entertainment's sake. I love Chadwick's portrayal of her and I thank Chadwick for not jumping on popular theories, but for actually doing her own research and using her unique Akashic method. Everything was from h ...more
Rebecca Huston
Yes, I know that I am a shameless EC fangirl. Every new release has me scanning the offerings from England, and when I see a new title, I swoop down on it like an owl on a field mouse.

This time Ms. Chadwick tells the early story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most fascinating women in history, and does it very well indeed. Here, we see Eleanor's story from the earliest days of her marriage to Louis VIII. Instead of using stereotypes that most authors have done, here Alienor (as EC calls he
May 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been longing to read The Summer Queen - the beginning to a trilogy dedicated to my favourite female figure of history written by one of the finest writers of historical fiction. As this wonderful novel proves, Eleanor is in safe hands. But it's not just Eleanor who comes alive here, her sister, Louis of France and the young Henry of Anjou and others all fill the pages with life and colour. A fabulous novel.

Eleanor of Aquitaine was without a doubt a strong, enigmatic, remarkable woman in history. First being a Queen of France and then a Queen of England; most novels mainly highlight her time in England whereas her time in France is bypassed. Elizabeth Chadwick begins her Eleanor trilogy detailing the early days in France with Louis VII in, “The Summer Queen”.

Chadwick chronicles the younger days of Eleanor (herein called Alienor as done in the novel) in “The Summer Queen” drawing readers into a per
“All that remained were poignant memories, and she must face reality, not live on dreams.”
The figure of Eleanor (or Alienor, as EC calls her here by her French name) was not new to me. I had already met her in the Elizabeth Chadwick’s superb William Marshal series, but that was an older version of Alienor of The Summer Queen.

Here she begins as a young thirteen year old girl, is orphaned, made Duchess and marries Louis VI and so becomes Queen of France. In the last third of the book, afte
Althea Ann
A historical novel of Eleanor (or, more accurately, Alienor) of Aquitaine. The book covers around a 20-year period: from Alienor's girlhood, through her marriage to Louis VI, the annulment of that marriage, and her second marriage, to Henry Plantagenet.

The events presented seem to follow upon known history pretty well, with no more than the expected amount of embellishment for a historical novel. It did turn me off, however, that in the Afterword, rather than simply stating which events were kno
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Eleanor, or Alienor as Chadwick refers to her, is just 13 years old at the time and is paired off in an arranged marriage to Louis, the French prince. This arranged marriage is essential to the future of Aquitaine as her father is gravelly ill. At first, Louis seems to be a good fit for her, but as the years go by, she realizes that behind closed doors, he is a different person. When she doesn't' provide an heir for him things become even worse as he feels it's a reflection of himself as well as ...more

I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This is the first book of the trilogy on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine written by Elizabeth Chadwick.

This is a historical fiction book and there are many books written on this subject. Most of them are not truly historical but historical romance instead.

The only book worth to be mentioned here is When Christ and His Saints Slept, also the first book of the Henry II and Eleanor of Aquita
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Eleanor of Aquitaine comes to brilliant life in Elizabeth Chadwicki's amazing writing!!! I was thrilled when I learned that she was writing a triilogy of Eleanor & Henry... this first book gives us the story of Eleanors early years which I didn't know much about! I not only recommend this book... but any book you are lucky to come across by Elizabeth Chadwick!!! ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favorite authors.
The Summer Queen is the 1st book in a trilogy. I am very excited to read them all. This book is the story of young Eleanor(Alienor) as the spelling the authors uses. She is a most fascinating character in history. This book is of her early life and her marriage to Louis VII. She was only 13 years of age when her dying father made a marriage arrangement for Alienor.Alienor is not happy to marry Louis, her heart belongs to another. The marriage is
My main motivation for wanting to read The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick was my interest in reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine on crusade in fiction. . One reason why I gave a pass to Christy English’s novel about the early life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, To Be Queen, is that I read a review on Goodreads which stated that English’s novel glossed over the crusade. I am glad I chose Chadwick instead. I downloaded The Summer Queen from Net Galley, and this is my review.

The first thing I noticed
Aug 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kobo, series
Elizabeth Chadwick tells the story of Aelinor of Aquitaine, her marriage to Louis of France and her whirlwind courtship with Henry of Anjou.

Chadwick 's Aelinor is stubborn, well versed in royal politics, and beautiful. But there was something in the way she and her sister were portrayed that seemed reminiscent of the volatile relationship between the English princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. I guess royal sisters in any generation will have their ups and downs.

Aelinor and Louis' relationship
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-researched with rich details giving a great sense of time and place.

Won as a giveaway over on Elizabeth Chadwick's blog. Thanks Elizabeth!

Now we'll find out what the Akashic Records have to say about Eleanor and her Uncle Raymond ;-).
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I have never been disappointed with any of Elizabeth's novels. They are immensely readable and this one is no exception. ...more
I never tire of reading of Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, she's such a resilient, intelligent, determined, influential woman in medieval history. The Summer Queen is the first in a planned trilogy dedicated to the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth Chadwick tells her story with extensive research, integrity and yes, imagination, whilst deftly remaining within the realms of historical likelihood. I particularly liked that EC refers to the anglicised Eleanor as Aliénor, as she referred to he ...more
This story of Eleanor of Aquitaine takes place in 12th Century Europe. It begins with Eleanor and her sister Petronella, who are carefree girls until their father's death in 1137 thus it then ends young Eleanor's childhood. Keeping an eye on her sister and Aquitanie, Eleanor is then wed to the young Prince Louis of France and thrust into the role of Queen at only age 13. As her husband grapples with his role as a ruler and his devotion to God, young Eleanor is then left to face the emotional and ...more
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this read. I have known little of Eleanor (Alienor) of Aquitaine, and was excited to cover some early twelfth century history through historical fiction. This year I have devoted to remarkable women in historical fiction, from Eve, Cleopatra, and Sheba, to Marie Antoinette, to Freud's Mistress Minnie Bernays, to Eva Braun, Mrs. Houdini, and Mademoiselle Channel. She also wears a red dress on my edition, which is another fun challenge for me this year.

I enjoyed the tale, and the writin
Krista Claudine Baetiong
One of the endearing things about reading an Elizabeth Chadwick work is the way this author can do justice to her characterization and make me love, admire and even fangirl over her protagonists at times. I have to say that I didn’t quite like Alienor (Eleanor of Aquitaine) at first despite having previously read so many positive things about her strong character and illustrious accomplishments as a queen and a woman of her time, but after this read I’ve finally come to appreciate her incomparab ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book
I'll start by saying that Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favourite authors. Despite that, this book took me the best part of 4 and a half years to read. I started reading the book, and then 6 months ago I started again listening to the audio and today I finished it (Hoorah!). Curse you reading slump.

Another really good book from EC, and I am definitely going to read the next one. At some point. Maybe this year. Maybe not.
Lora Milton
Dec 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine, spelled Aileanor in the original French and for the novel. She is forced to marry the young Prince Louis of France and soon becomes the Queen of France.

She is depicted as a strong personality, but living in a time when choices for women were limited. Still, her influence on Louis is fairly strong at first and she makes the best of her situation, despite some difficulties when her younger sister begins to behave like a foolish girl and brin
The first book in Chadwick's series about Alienor (Eleanor of Aquitaine). It basically covers her marriage to Louis and the very beginning of her marriage to Henry. Chadwick's Alienor is not only in keeping with her brief appearances in the Chadwick Marshall books, but also with the image that most of us have of the Queen. Perhaps even a bit of Kate Hepburn.

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Best selling historical novelist Elizabeth Chadwick won a Betty Trask Award for her first novel The Wild Hunt. She has been shortlisted for the UK's mainstream Best Romantic Novel of the Year Award 4 times and longlisted twice. Her novel The Scarlet Lion about the great William Marshal and his wife Isabelle de Clare, has been selected by Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society as one ...more

Other books in the series

Eleanor of Aquitaine (3 books)
  • The Winter Crown (Eleanor of Aquitaine, #2)
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Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
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“Without the light the beauty remains hidden,” Gofrid said. “But it is always there. Just like God’s love, or a father’s, or a mother’s. Remember that, Alienor. You are loved, whether you see it or not.” 4 likes
“All that remained were poignant memories, and she must face reality, not live on dreams.” 2 likes
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