Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Queen's Pawn” as Want to Read:
The Queen's Pawn
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Queen's Pawn (Eleanor of Aquitaine #1)

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,318 Ratings  ·  99 Reviews
Princess Alais of France travels to England to marry Richard the Lionhearted, the son of King Henry II, armed only with her dowry, the valuable Vexin. When Alais arrives in the land of her father’s enemies, she is welcomed by the beautiful and powerful queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, the richest and most influential woman in Europe, sees a kindred soul in the young F ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by NAL (first published March 31st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Queen's Pawn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Queen's Pawn

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Emery Lee
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although I had read a number of great reviews, I had put off reading this book simply because I have never been really enamored of the middle ages. This era in history was linked in my mind to a time of horrible personal hygiene, plague, ignorance and superstition, and women locked in towers while their men spent all their time making war and hacking each other to pieces with swords.

After reading Elizabeth Chadwick's THE GREATEST KNIGHT, I learned, through the story of William Marshall, more of
Jun 12, 2010 rated it did not like it
I rarely give one star reviews. I approached The Queen's Pawn expecting to like it because a fellow Duke grad wrote it. Unfortunately, however, my Blue Devil pride could not get me to enjoy this poorly written novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine and Alais of France. I think this book might be ok for someone who doesn't mind Phillipa Gregory fact bending (and in English's defense, she includes an author's note to inform her readers that she changed most known facts in her plot) and bodice ripper sty ...more
Stephanie Dray
This absorbing novel probably should have been called "Don't Mess with Eleanor of Aquitaine."

The book brilliantly sets up Princess Alais of France as a sort of Proto-Anne Boleyn figure, a home-wrecker bent on stealing Eleanor of Aquitaine's throne. Nevermind that Henry and Eleanor don't have much of a home to wreck. The point is that we've read this kind of story so often that the tension is already there. Will Alais fare better than Anne in manipulating a king and winning a crown? Or will Elean
Lyn (Readinghearts)
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Jennifer Crooks, Kate Ainsworth, Colleen Kerr.
Recommended to Lyn (Readinghearts) by: Sisterhood of the Traveling Book
Historical Fiction is probably my favorite genre. In addition, I love to read anything that has to do with royalty, fiction or non fiction. So a book with Eleanor of Acquitane, Henry II, Richard Lionheart, and Alais of France was right up me alley. Although Christy English was a new author to me, I expected the subject matter to be old and familiar. It was, but at the same time Ms. English was able to bring new life to an old friend. This was not just another story about Eleanor, but the story o ...more
Nov 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Historical fiction featuring Alais, Princess of France who at the young age of eight was engaged to the third son of England's King Henry II and his queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

The marriage, however, never took place and history records all sorts of rumors that Henry II made Alais his own mistress and that she even bore him a child.

Obviously, there was a lot of fertile ground for author Christy English to work with here. And as a historical fiction novel goes, she does fairly well with the mate
Feb 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Queen's Pawn is a captivating story. I love it when I read a novel that holds my attention to the very end and leaves me wanting more. It takes great skill and talent for an author to do so. Christy English is one of those authors. She puts so much passion and emotion into her characters and the story she tells.

The Queen's Pawn is a story of Princess Alais of France who is sent to England to wed Prince Richard. Richard is the son of Henry the Second and Queen Eleanor. Princess Alais and Que
Jul 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 60-books-in-2012
I don't really understand why this book has so many good reviews. It's more fiction than history, and the plot is, well, I can sum it up with the following:

Eleanor: Oh, Alais, I love you like a daughter!
Alais: I love you like a mother!
Eleanor: I love you, but I must use you, but you'll get over it!
Alais: I love you, but I'm hurt, so I'll get back at you!
Eleanor: You're being mean, but I still love you!
Alais: You know, maybe I'll suddenly change my mind about a huge decision based on a five secon
Marie Z. Johansen
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
I was delighted when I was given an opportunity to read and review this book! Because there is such a dearth of information about Eleanor of Aquitaine I especially enjoy books that delve into what her life's story might have been. The additional high point of this book is that it includes the story of Princess Alais (the 'pawn'), daughter of King Louis of France (who was also Eleanor's first husband) by a previous marriage. Alais is seldom a character in books since even less is known about her ...more
Mar 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
What an incredibly different and refreshing take on the grand Queen Eleanor! This was the first time that I read anything in such detail about Eleanor that revolved around her life and that of Alais, the French Princess (daughter of King Louis- Eleanor’s first husband). Written in interchanging points of views, Eleanor’s and Alais’ personalities came through as though I were hearing their actual voice.
Not only do the style and language flow beautifully, the writing morphs reflective of Eleanor’s
Victoria Vane
Jun 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Although I had read a number of great reviews, I had put off reading this book simply because I have never been really enamored of the middle ages. This era in history was linked in my mind to a time of horrible personal hygiene, plague, ignorance and superstition, and women locked in towers while their men spent all their time making war and hacking each other to pieces with swords.

After reading Elizabeth Chadwick's THE GREATEST KNIGHT, I learned, through the story of William Marshall, more of
Dec 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, favorites
Although my sister read and liked this book several years ago, I've put off reading it because, though I loved reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine, I was doubtful that I would enjoy a book about Alais, Richard's betrothed.However, I was pleasantly surprised. I found myself loving Alais, maybe even more than Eleanor, as well as Henry. I even found Richard to be likable! That's saying a lot for me, because I'm usually not a big Richard fan. I found the plot to be engaging and the character's likabl ...more
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
3.5 stars for me
The novel of The Queen's Pawn begins later in Queen Eleanor's life, in 1169 after she has given birth to the famous sons of King Henry II and where Eleanor is beginning to turn those sons against the king. Alais is a young woman seeking knowledge and soaking it all up from Eleanor, and Eleanor is one who intends to use everyone around Eleanor to her and her son's advantage. Although her favorite son Richard is not the eldest son, Eleanor has high hopes that Richard will go far,
Jerry Jr.
Sep 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
First, I'd like to submit that for people who demand that accounts of the lives of long-dead persons limit themselves exclusively to articulating only what we know about them with absolute certainty, or repeating the most rote and accepted versions of their lives passed down through history, there is wikipedia. But for people who realize that all historical accounts are partial, interested and to some extent imaginative, there is the possibility offered by historical fiction that we can speculat ...more
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
A page-turner of medieval mischief at its peak, The Queen’s Pawn is a delightful read taking place at the court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine, those legendary royals who were the “power couple” of their time. Told in first person in alternating point of views, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Alais, Princess of France and Countess of the Vexin narrate their story of love, intrigue, passion, and betrayal.

Alais Capet, daughter of King Louis VII of France was raised believing the worst of her father
Feb 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My original review of this novel is located on my blog;

I absolutely loved this book. Christy English effortlessly tells the story of Alais, Princess of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine. It was such an enjoyable read, because the story was told from both sides. Not only are both Alais' and Eleanor's sides told, but the book is also written in first person, so the reader is able to get inside the character's heads in a way that one never could if the novel h
Cynthia Haggard
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is the most unusual historical novel I have ever read. The story of the rivalry between Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen to Louis VII of France and Henry II of England, and her daughter-in-law Princess Alais of France, daughter to the same Louis whom Eleanor discarded by another wife.

The problem with writing novels about real people is the tangled family trees and tangled politics that one has to deal with. But Christy English, in her debut novel THE QUEEN’S PAWN has hit upon a novel solution. I
Alice Osborn
Mar 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
In her first novel, The Queen’s Pawn (Penguin Group, 2010) Christy English brings a pivotal, yet largely unknown historical woman to life. English introduces readers to the bright and inquiring mind of Princess Alais of France starting with the day she is told she will be sent across the Channel to be raised and marry Prince Richard of England. It’s a dynastic marriage made to maintain the uneasy peace with England. Motherless after the queen died upon her birth, she is her father’s favorite, bu ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Nov 16, 2010 rated it really liked it

The blurb does say it. Princess Alais is sent to marry prince Richard, but instead when she grows up she becomes King Henry's mistress.

My thoughts:

My second book about a mistress of King Henry, in a month, well he did get around.

This book was made into Eleanor parts and Alais parts. So it changed POV every chapter and that worked. It was interesting to see what these two women felt and needed. I must say I got truly fascinated by Eleanor, she was so strong, and she did what she wanted.

Aug 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Queen's Pawn paints a fascinating portrait of two little known historical figures and their amazing bond. The story follows the fascinating life of the young French Princess Alais who, at the young age of nine, was sent to live in the English court of Henry II until she was old enough to marry Henry's son Richard. At court, Alais meets Eleanor of Aquitaine, a powerful queen well-versed in playing court intrigue and power games, as well as winning them. Eleanor not only finds a wonderful new ...more
Jun 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set during the Middle Ages in England, The Queen's Pawn is the story of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and Princess Alais of France, and the love and betrayal that occurs between these two women.
An arranged marriage has been planned for Princess Alais and Prince Richard, also known as Richard the Lionheart. Richard is the son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.
When Eleanor and Alais first meet, the two are drawn to each other and Eleanor thinks of Alais as a daughter right away. They f
Jean Marie
Aug 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: medieval-europe
Oh this could have been so much better it was set up so well. Alais, princess of France is an enigma in history. She's a name during the reign of Henry II of England and an adoptive daughter of his wife and epic queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Most of the world knows her as Henry's mistress. This book is a fictional view of her upbringing and betrothal to England's Richard only to be betrayed by Eleanor and Richard and then throws herself at Henry as revenge.
The build up of this book was geniusly d
Andrea Wall
Oct 02, 2011 rated it liked it
I did not like this one as much as the first. I don't really know why exactly, but I think mainly in was because I had so much trouble following WHY the characters were doing something.

Ok, actually I had trouble following why Alais is doing something. Ok, so first she loves Richard, then she doesn't and she loves Henry, then she betrays Henry again and loves Richard. I understood the WHY for some parts (Richard cheating) but then I felt that the only reason she betrayed Henry was because the au
Rick F.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
a TRULY MAGNIFICENT historical novel. I had little knowledge of Eleanor, King Henry and England in 1170's- yet after reading this superb novel (it is a novel..not a staid academic study...go to British Museum- for those who crave exact facts!) I have a wonderful feel for the times and customs.

Christy Englsih has truly developed her characters- Eleanor and Princess Alais of France - alternating chapters between each..with first person accounts.

I was enthralled at all the detail, and the way the p
Cynthia Mcarthur
Sep 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
From all that I have read, there is no historical proof that Henry II and the Princess Alais, Henry's son Richard's betrothed, had an affair, although it does seem to have been a contemporary rumor.
This book imagines that Henry and Alais did indeed have an affair, after Alais believes she is betrayed by the two people she loves the most in the world, Queen Eleanor who took her under her wing and taught her strength, and the Prince Richard, who loved her for herself, but who she found to be unfai
Patricia O'Sullivan
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
After reading through several dozen other reviews, I take issue with those who feel a historical fiction romance novel should also serve as a factual perspective. Historical fiction is first and foremost fiction. It's main purpose, like other works of fiction, is to tell a good story. In this, Christy English has done a fine job. She's written a story about what might have been, not what was. And this story of what might have been is so full of intrigue, romance, and inter-personal dynamics it i ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
I liked this interesting take on the years Princess Alais was in England as Richard's intended bride. Due to conflict between Henry II and his son Richard, the unfortunate bride to be is never married to Richard and instead becomes his father's mistress. Before this, she was sent to Eleanor, and was in her keeping for several years, where they developed a close friendship. Alais turns on Eleanor and Richard when she realizes that Richard has had a lover long before she came into the picture. Hur ...more
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
The Queen’s Pawn tells the story of Princess Alais’s love affair with Henry II, Eleanor’s husband, and how the Queen dealt with this. Christy English combines the two stories by devoting one chapter to Alais, followed by a chapter on Eleanor, throughout the book. This is a clever technique and clearly shows the differences between the two characters.
I LOVED this book! It was a great easy read full of passion, ambition, betrayal and revenge! I would recommend it to all book lovers not just histor
Andrea Zsigmond
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 13, 2010 rated it liked it
3/5 and that's a stretch.

Disappointed because I wanted to like it a lot more than I did.
I'll be honest. This novel was significantly better than I thought it would be, albeit still lacking. Because of my neutrality, I don't have much more to say. I needed a sympathetic heroine, and this novel did not have one. That being said, it also did not have me gnawing on my first like most female-pov historical novels. Success?
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 06, 2015 01:26PM  
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Pale Rose of England: A Novel of the Tudors
  • The King's Mistress
  • The Countess and the King: A Novel of the Countess of Dorchester and King James II
  • Duchess of Aquitaine: A Novel of Eleanor
  • The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
  • The Secret Eleanor
  • To Serve a King
  • Harlot Queen
  • The King's Daughter
  • The King's Concubine: A Novel of Alice Perrers
  • The First Princess of Wales
  • The Queen's Dollmaker
  • His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester
  • Three Maids for a Crown
  • The People's Queen
  • The King's Grace
  • Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland
Ever since Christy English picked up a fake sword in stage combat class at the age of fourteen, she has lived vicariously through the sword-wielding women of her imagination. Sometimes an actor, always a storyteller, Christy works happily with Sourcebooks Casablanca to bring the knife-throwing women of her novels to life. A banker by day and a writer by night, she loves to eat chocolate, drink too ...more
More about Christy English...

Other Books in the Series

Eleanor of Aquitaine (2 books)
  • To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine