Erin 's Reviews > The Sister Queens

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
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's review
Jul 22, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: historic-fiction-1200s
Read from June 19 to 23, 2012

Find the enhanced version of this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Did I like the book? Obviously, but I am not above admitting that much of my admiration stems from exposure to history of which I was not already familiar. A natural scholar, I spent much of my reading cross referencing people and events. Call it a weakness, but I give points to any author that can spark my curiosity in such a way. That being said I’m torn with how to approach rating and reviewing this piece. I love Perinot’s subject matter but I’m not sure I am sold on her writing.

The story itself makes for compelling literature, but that is the case with a lot of historic fiction. At some point a reader needs to weigh what the author brings to the table against what is provided them by the historic record. For much of the novel, Perinot gives life to two very different women but I feel she lost momentum in the latter third of the book. Somewhere along the way their voices grow faint, their characters less prominent, at times even fragmented against the political backdrop of their stories. Unfortunately this also killed off much of the pacing. Where I had been unable to put the book aside I soon found myself struggling to get through even a handful of pages.

If I have a concrete complaint about the book it is in regards to Marguerite’s oldest child, Blanche. Perinot goes to a great deal of trouble to illustrate the importance of family in both Eleanor and Marguerite’s lives. For several chapters they agonize over their inability to provide their respective kingdoms with an heir. Once they do have children, we are privy to the joy each finds in her role as mother. For this reason I find it odd that it is a paragraph in chapter nineteen that first references the early death of the French princess. The child passed away at age two or three in the year 1243, but Perinot’s narrative doesn’t mention the event until 1246 in a chapter told from Eleanor’s point of view while she struggles with her fear of losing Edward. Marguerite’s apparent lack of affection for her first born irks me. Louis and Jean Tristan are the favored of her brood but as a mother I find it utterly incomprehensible that one could lose a child and be indifferent. Needless to say I found the reference in chapter nineteen woefully inadequate, but my feelings on the matter changed dramatically in the latter portion of the novel when Marguerite claims she would lay down her life for her children. The declaration grated my nerves. Why should the reader believe she is capable of such devotion when we have been denied even the merest hint of maternal affection or grief for the young princess? For me, the omission proved the undoing of Marguerite’s character and greatly affected my assessment of Perinot’s work.

All things considered I am comfortable awarding four stars to Perinot’s Sister Queens, but it is a generous rating. The freshness of her subject matter went a long way in capturing both my interest and imagination and while I believe Perinot is without doubt an author to watch, I also feel there is significant room for growth.
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Reading Progress

06/19/2012 page 50
06/23/2012 page 412
82.0% "Pacing is sort of dying off..."
08/14/2016 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-16 of 16) (16 new)

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Erin Thoroughly addicted :D

message 2: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Glad to hear it. I read the non-fiction Four Queens about Eleanor and Marguerite (and their sisters Sanchia and Beatrice) and have been wondering about this book.

Erin This is a rare instance in which I was not familiar with the history prior to picking up the book. Will have to look into the nonfiction. :)

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Nice review Erin..hmmmm..I have both books,which to read first?

Erin Thanks Sandi. I'm a little out of practice. Nice to know I can still put together something that makes sense. :)

I'm on baby watch - we are at due date plus two so I'm not sure how much more I will get done today though I am planning to get through my pending stuff this week and have the blog revamped by the time I go back to work.

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* It made perfect sense,and your blog is great:)
Where has the time gone? any day now? And not much time for reading or sleeping you'll get for awhile,but so worth it in the long run:)

Erin Thanks. Need to update some graphics is all. Then it is on to editing all the reviews I have in my pending folder since most of them are already written. :)

Yep any day now. Biggest problem is sitting at my computer to write. I have actually been reading a lot, just don't have the ability to sit for long periods. I figure once he is here I will be up half the night anyway so who knows. I might not have much time with a toddler, a newborn and work but there is also a chance that I'll have more time than I know what to do with.

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* Erin aka The Flashlight Reader wrote: "Thanks. Need to update some graphics is all. Then it is on to editing all the reviews I have in my pending folder since most of them are already written. :)

Yep any day now. Biggest problem is sit..."

I remember those days only too well LOL! I couldnt even get into the car to drive! I hope all goes well for you and your new little one,III look forward to what you add then and check in on your blog:)

message 9: by Susan (new) - added it

Susan Wishing you smooth labor and speedy delivery

Erin Thanks Susan. Tired of waiting. My daughter was three days past her date and my son seems to be of the same frame of mind.

message 11: by Misfit (new)

Misfit Susan wrote: "Wishing you smooth labor and speedy delivery"

Same here.

Erin Thanks Misfit

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* When you can spare the time a quick "we are all fine" and all went well?...and maybe a picture of your new son? Your friends here at GR will be thinking of you:)

Erin Will do. Promise. :)

message 15: by Misfit (new)

Misfit Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~* wrote: "When you can spare the time a quick "we are all fine" and all went well?...and maybe a picture of your new son? Your friends here at GR will be thinking of you:)"

Yes please. It's always a bit scary when a regular online friend just disappears...

Erin I've been sleepin a lot lately. Not much of an online presence for the last two months. Working on it but thanks. Its nice to know people care. :)

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