Monday, July 2, 2007

The Courts of Love - Jean Plaidy

the courts of love
jean plaidy
576 pages
c. 1987

This fifth volume in the Queens of England Series is devoted to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Evoking the beautiful, tempestuous and sensual woman who divorced the King of France and married the King of England, Plaidy employs the ingratiating domestic details that are characteristic of her historical storytelling. Despite a hobbling first-person narrative that tends to repetition, the novel is dramatic in the sweep of its background and in the vividly realized events of Eleanor's long life. Raised with the Provencal languor of the courtly love tradition in her native Aquitaine, her beauty the toast of jongleurs, Eleanor relieves the tedium of her marriage to the pious French King Louis by daringly joining the Crusaders. She further shocks by pursuing her attraction to unattractive Henry Plantagenet, lured as much by the English crown as by the mutual sensuality that produces her favorite son, the enigmatic Richard the Lionhearted. Later, ambitious, headstrong Eleanor locks wills with Henry, leading to her imprisonment for many years. Even then, Eleanor remains central to the tumultuous epoch that witnessed the murder of Thomas a Becket and other royal infamies.

This was the first book I read in 2007 and it took me forever. I think that's because of my schedule and constantly changing location and nothing against the book itself. This is the third novel I've read by Jean Plaidy. I hate that I haven't really been going in order. For something like this I really like it better if I'm reading them in chronological order, but as I've jest begun getting into this author, and many of her books are out of print, that has been difficult. But I am attempting to get into a chronological ordr, simply for my piece of mind.

I felt bad for Eleanor through most of this book. I think she somehow surrounded herself with unfortunate people, though oftentimes that was not her fault. She also had some nieve ideas, I think mostly due to her upbringing. In the end, I think she must have been very unhappy for most of her life.


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