Thursday, March 20, 2008

Review--Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, by Alison Weir

Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life, by Alison Weir, is a absorbing look into the life of one of Europe’s most intriguing queens. Born in Aquitaine, she was married off to King Louis of France. Her marriage to him was annulled, and Eleanor married King Henry II of England. She then became mother to two kings of England. What emerges from this book is an in-depth look at not only the life of this queen, but insight into the world of the laste-12th century. Eleanor of Aquitaine was a truly remarkable and unusual woman, having had more power than other women of the period and having had a dynamic personality.

It turns out that, despite her notoriety, not much is truly known about Eleanor (in fact, there exists not even an accurate painting or sculpture of her, and some periods of her life are unaccounted for), but Weir does an amazing job in this biography of putting the pieces together. I hadn’t known much about the life of this fascinating queen before reading this book, but I learned a lot and was thoroughly entertained by the way in which the author portrayed the period. Weir is first-rate in the historical accuracy department, so that’s why I keep returning again and again to her nonfiction. There’s also a certain sense of storytelling she has that makes her books be more than simply a recitation of facts, which makes Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life highly readable.

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