Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Plantagenet Prelude - Jean Plaidy

the plantagenet prelude
jean plaidy
c. 1976
432 pages
completed 5/12/2009

read for: plantagenet saga

*may contain spoilers*

This is the first novel in Jean Plaidy's Plantagenet Saga. This novel is broken into two parts, the first being the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her marriage and divorce to Louis VII of France. The second part focuses on Eleanor's second husband, King Henry II of England and his relationship with "frenemy" Thomas Beckett (I love that I get to use that word when talking about history!).

It's taken me a long time to review this book, and I've started reading several things since, so details may be a little fuzzy. I really enjoy Jean Plaidy as a historical fiction author. She's very detail oriented as well as character driven. The only problem I had with this book is...well, she kind of already wrote it. I mean, The Courts of Love (my very first and not very good review) was also the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine. Don't get me wrong, there were some differences. That novel was written as part of the "Queens of England" series and encompasses her whole life, whereas this novel is only up until the death of Thomas Beckett. And I guess this novel shifts its focus from Eleanor to Henry during the second half so it's more the history of England as opposed to just the history of Eleanor. But still. I had already read this story from this author, so I got a little bored. Once I get to something she hasn't written about before I'm sure I will enjoy the series more.

One problem I often find when reading historical fiction about real people...sometimes there's nobody likable in that part of history. Eleanor was selfish and stuck up and (let's be for real) kind of a slut, Louis was weak and lame, Henry was selfish and childish, etc. And there's nothing you can really do about that.



Sara said...

Have you ever watched The Lion in Winter with Peter O'Toole and Katherine Hepburn? It's about the same set of characters but has a terribly witty script and thus manages to make them likable and consistently interesting. I would highly recommend it.

Lezlie said...

I've read a couple of books with Eleanor as a main character and I've never warmed up to her. I'd like to read a nonfiction to see what's up with her. :-)