Customer Reviews: Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine, France, 1136 (The Royal Diaries)
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on October 15, 2002
I thought this book would be boring and bought it early at a September bookfair to complete my Royal Diaries collection, but when I read it-I found it too be better than Gregory's earlier Royal Diary-Cleopatra.Not only better thna Cleopatra, but better than any of the Royal Diaries! The story follows the teenage years of Eleanor, the oldest daughter of the duke of Aquitaine-a French duchy.As a teenage girl-Eleanor lives a life in her father's many castles-particularly Poitiers and Talmont-by-the-Sea under the education of her Grandmere (Grandmother) along with her dearest sister, Petronilla. Over the years we see the beautful and artistic court of Aquitaine-which is very genuine considering the courts of other countries are artless and dank places. Anyway, we hear stories of Eleanor's past-filled with tragic deaths-including her four-year-old brother's which is heartbreaking.We hear Eleanor's love interest over a knight-Clotaire the Stronger and we even get to experience her strong and fantasy like relationship with Petronilla.However, after her father's many careless and artistic years as Duke of Aquitaine, he begins to become a religious man and decides to take a religious pilgrimage to a cathedral in Spain.Taking his daughters only as far as Bordeaux, he dies only months later of food poisoning he contracted from uncooked fish. Eleanor is placed under the guardianship of the King of France-Louis VI.Since Eleanor now holds more land than the king-Louis marries Eleanor to his son-14 year old Louis VII.Eleanor instantly falls in love with him.Although she meets him in the most unexpected spot-she is in the lake having jumped in with so much excitement.A shirtless boy with golden hair and a tanned chest helps her out.Only thne doe sshe realize it's her teenage husband. We then begin to hear of her love for Louis and his for her and their secret meetings. The story ends only a few days after the marriage of the two teens-who travel on their wedding night to secure a castle that endsin a military tragedy.It's not the romance Eleanor imagines.The last entry is when Eleanor finds out Louis's father-the king-died of dysenterry and now she is the queen of France and Aquitaine with her husband at her side! This is a romantic and lively story that is well-written researched, full of great vocabulary, gives a great insight on Eleanor's later life, and shows the world of the wonderful court of the duchy of Aquitaine.This book is great and everyone should read it!-don't just buy it to finsih the collection.
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on October 19, 2002
Thirteen-year-old Eleanor is the oldest daughter of Count William Aquitaine, and heir to her Father's powerful empire even since her younger brother died at the age of four. Being a teenage girl, Eleanor and her younger sister Petronilla, live in the many beautiful palaces of her father and are under the care of their Grandmere, who also gave Eleanor this diary to write in. Mischieveous Eleanor is always a constant struggle to her Grandmere and ladies-in-waiting. However, Eleanor's light, happy life takes a turn when her careless father, dies of food-poisoning, on their pilgrimage to Spain. All of a sudden Eleanor finds herself owning a bunch of land and bethrothed, for political reasons, to sixteen-year-old Prince Louis VII of France. Eleanor knows that her father's many lands, which is even bigger than King Louis's empire is very much the reason for the bethrol. Through this all Eleanor wonders if she can ever marry only for love and nothing else. Her perseptives change though when she finally meets her young teenage husband, and the sparks between them fly. This is definitely my favorite Royal Diary. I am quite the romantic and I loved Prince Louis and Eleanor's romance, it was brilliantly written. I can tell much research was made to write this book and I recommend all fans to read it.
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on January 30, 2004
This is the best of the Royal Diaries so far. It's about Eleanor, daughter and heir of Duke William of Aquitaine, one of the most powerful men in France. Her father had a falling-out with the Pope, and then re-converts to Catholicism. Many of his barons plan to revolt, and steal his bride-to-be, Emma. Instead of getting angry and killing them all, which is what he usually does, he decides to go on a pilgrimage to Spain, to touch the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. Near his destination, he is poisoned by a raw fish, and dies. Eleanor inherits his kingdom, and marries Prince Louis, who she dislikes, because he is so stiff and un-fun-loving. The epilogue tells how she gets a divorce later, and marries the king of England.
This book is really good. Eleanor and her little sister Petronilla are always getting in trouble with "Grandmere" for doing impetuous things, and running off from the castles.
I also recommend Elisabeth, Cleopatra, Mary Queen of Scots, Marie Antoinette, Weetamoo, and all of the rest.
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on June 10, 2010
Re-read in May, 2010

Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine feels like a front: a way to teach kids "history", presented in the point-of-view of one of their own. Yes, I realize that's the whole point of the Royal Diaries books, but I expected a little more creativity presented in the story than what I received. It shouldn't FEEL like a front when you read it. I perceived this even as a kid, which is probably why I forgot all about Eleanor until I stumbled across it on and was reminded of its existence.

Gregory is very careful to remain true to both the diary format and the ADD mindset of a fourteen-year-old girl. As a girl, I read all of the Royal Diaries books, and I honestly don't recall any of them being quite this scatter-brained. It made it hard for me as a reader to remain engaged with the story. I remember what it was like to be a fourteen-year-old; I KNOW how hard it is to stay focused. But really, Gregory, for the sake of the story KEEP IT TOGETHER.

I should have gleaned more of Eleanor's personality than I did, especially considering that it's written in her point-of-view. Eleanor seems to have been deeply religious, or at the very least, unusually pious for a young teen. Other than that, I learned nothing particularly unique about her as a person. She had few wants and worries aside from her father's safety, and was never truly rebellious - sneaking out of the castle from time to time hardly counts as rebellious behavior in my book, as I would've done the same and more. She had opinions and observations about the world around her, but they don't make for a decent read. As a result, I perceived Eleanor to be a generally uninteresting person.

This is odd, considering that in the historical note at the end of the book, it is stated "That she was headstrong and spoiled is undisputed." (p. 161) I didn't get that impression at all. In fact, both the epilogue and the historical note were more entertaining than the actual story. I learned more about Eleanor than I would have otherwise, and lo and behold, she's a fairly interesting historical character. Who would've thunk it? The only time Eleanor displays originality in her actions and thoughts is her rather unorthodox way of meeting her husband-to-be, Louis VII: she marches down to where the prince is camped, only to decide that she'd rather jump in the river instead. One guess on who pulls her out of the river.

This is the only memorable part of the story, folks. Here's the page numbers (p. 124-126) so you can jump right to it.

One could make the argument that "Oh, it's meant for kids and young teens, so it doesn't have to be quite so detailed as other historical fiction novels." To that I say, "Yes it does." I use Marie Antoinette: Princess of Versailles, another Royal Diaries book, as an example. It remains true to the diary format, and yet manages to be historically accurate AND engages the reader throughout the duration of the story.

It's also a kid's book. Imagine that.

I realize that Marie Antoinette and Eleanor are different people from very different eras. As a result, there's more information to go off of on Marie Antoinette than there is on Eleanor, simply because of the different times they lived in. I get all that, really, I do... but I expected more from Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine.
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on October 23, 2002
After enjoying Cleopatra VII, I knew that Kristiana Gregory's second book in The Royal Diaries would be very detailed and well-written. Even though I expected this book to be excellent, it even outreached my expectations. The story begins when Eleanor receives a diary from Grandmere (her grandmother). She writes of daily activies with her sister Petronilla, events at the castle, people of the government, etc. When her father, the Duke of Aquitaine, plans to go on a pilgrimage and dies shortly after reaching his destination, Eleanor's life is completely changed. She is the Duchess of Aquitaine and must be held under severe security. Because she holds more land than the King of France, he marries her to his son, Louis the Younger. Eleanor is fond of him from the early beginning. As they venture to return home, both are informed that King Louis of France has died, and now they are both the new king and queen. This was a very excellent addition to The Royal Diaries. If you are looking to start off the series, I would recommend this as a beginning.
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on January 21, 2003
I'd give this book a 4 because a few parts in it were a little hard to understand. This book is about medevil times and Princess Eleanor of Auquitaine. It tells about her life moving from castle to castle, how people cheer for her beauty, and her strong bond with her only livng sibling, Petronilla. Their little brother Willie died when he was 4 because a building collapsed on top of him.
Petronilla is Eleanor's 12 year old younger sister. She's carefree, like Eleanor and pretty like Eleanor. In the book but not in real life, Eleanor falls in love with a brave night she calls Clotaire the Strong. But sadly, Clotaire wasn't on her fathers list of sutible husbands.
Eleanor's mother had died around the time when Willie died. It hurt Eleanor to talk about it in her book.
This book is aa great book for if you like midevil times. It was hard to put down, and when you picked it up again, It was hard to have distractions. A very interesting book.
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on July 7, 2003
This is an awesome book! Eleanor one day get's a diary from her grandmother. In this book you'll learn that her little brother Willie died at a very young age, her mother also has died, her father owns more land then even the king (she's not a princess she's more of a "Lady" it's pretty much the same thing), and that she has a thing for a knight named CLotaire. Eleanor and her sister live pretty carefree lives until her father goes on a pilgrimage to Spain and dies. Eleanor enherites all of his land and is set to be married to Prince Louis. The charecters are really well developed and the plot is great. I definantly reccomend this book, it's great! I also reccomend Cleopatra, Nzingha, Jahanara, Mary (queen of scots), Marie Antoinett, Anastsia....................oh just read them all!
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on October 15, 2002
Eleanor: Crown Jewel of Aquitaine is a wonderful fictionalized diary. While not being depressing, the book shows how sad Eleanor's childhood was. She lost her little brother and her mother very early in life. I would recommend that parents read aloud this book to younger children, because there are illegitimate children mentioned. A very interesting look at a woman who was queen of two countries and mother of two kings of England.
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Fourteen-year-old Eleanor is the oldest daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, one of the most powerful men in France in 1136. Her father's only legitimate son died as a young child, leaving Eleanor, the oldest of his two daughters, next in line to inherit his lands, which are larger than those controlled by the King of France. Eleanor knows that because of her position, she will be married off in a strategic alliance. But what she would like is to marry for love, something that's completely impossible. Eleanor records the experiences of her life as a noble girl in Medieval France in a diary given to her by her grandmother. This was one of my favorite books in the Royal Diaries series. I especially loved the Medieval setting. I'd highly recommend this book to all Royal Diaries fans.
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on September 10, 2015
My elementary school ago daughter loves these books. Glad I found the series. This particular one is about Eleanor of Aquitaine - mother of Richard the Lionheart and Prince John of Robin Hood fame. I love the mix of historical fiction along with actual facts and photos at the backs of the books. Great way to introduce other cultures into my child's life. She has been fascinated with history and I give some credit to these books. We just returned from a trip to the United Kingdom and we saw references to Queen Eleanor in a lot of the places we visited and each and every time her name came up my daughter would get excited and say "I read about her!". Got most of the books used - always high quality. Very impressed.
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