Remember when I read A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver and ended by saying that “I’d like to read a more thorough biography of Eleanor [of Aquitaine]”? Yes, well now I really want to read a biography. This book, the first of a trilogy ended up on my TBR list under circumstances I have now forgotten. I got it from inter-library loan and thought, “Oh, a big book! Ooh, Wales! Erm, paper to write.” So it got put on hold until Thursday, when I devoured all 700 pages in a day. Because, WALES! Twelfth century Wales! And Eleanor of Aquitaine made a fairly significant appearance, as did King John and his daughter Joanna.
I just read that paragraph and it makes everything sound very boring. It isn’t! It’s exciting, with battles and seiges, and it also has a nice bit of romance and personal struggles for the main characters (Llewellyn and Joanna). And it’s part of the wonderful tradition of historical fiction which takes a mostly-forgotten figure and brings them vividly to life.
Apparently Penman wrote a book about Richard III, which I will have to read. I love Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time and went and looked at Richard’s portrait in the National Portrait Gallery. (I also love the National Portrait Gallery and would like to live there, thank you very much. But that’s a different story.) Anyway, Richard III as done by Penman sounds great, so yay!
Content advisory: This is definitely an adult book. That said, it is (as far as I can tell) pretty accurate historically.
Book source: Central Washington University