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Eleanor the Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine Paperback – Bargain Price, April 20, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (April 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 143914611X
  • ASIN: B004JZWK46
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,494,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A natural storyteller.”

The New York Times

“Lofts is a master”

Historical Novels Review

“Norah Lofts gets the mix of historical fact and lively characterizations just right.”

—Anne Easter Smith, author of A Rose for the Crown and The King’s Grace

About the Author

Norah Lofts was one of the best known and best loved of all historical novelists, renowned for her authentic use of period detail. Born in 1904 in Norfolk, England, Lofts wrote more than fifty books of fiction, nonfiction, and short stories over the course of her half-century-long writing career, including The King's Pleasure and Here Was a Man, and was a bestselling author on both sides of the Atlantic.

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Lawyeraau HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 1, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is an interesting work of historical fiction by a noted writer of historical fiction and gifted storyteller, Norah Lofts. the author capably details the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most famous and celebrated women of the middle ages. Touted by the troubadours of her time as being a woman without compare, Eleanor of Aquitaine could certainly be held to be the first feminist.
Married first to the pious King of France, Louis VII, she bore him two daughters and went with him on an unsuccessful Crusade, where she was to have a number of adventures. Stifled by the King's somewhat misogynistic advisors, she and the King would come to a parting of the way after fifteen years of marriage. No sooner was she divorced and returned to her Duchy of Aquitaine, than she met eighteen year old Henry Plantagenet, who was to become King Henry II of England. Nearly a dozen years separated them but this was to be no bar to their marriage.
Eleanor and Henry were to marry, and she bore him numerous sons and daughters. She lived happily with Henry for many years, until she discovered that he had a mistress, the fair Rosamonde of legend. The break in their relationship would eventually result in the estrangement of Henry from his sons and the imprisonment of Eleanor for nearly eighteen years.
This is an excellent work of historical fiction, filled with the political intrigues of the day, historical events and personages, and a story that has withstood the test of time. It is a book that those who like well-written historical fiction will, undoubtedly, enjoy.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By DONALD G. FOX on November 13, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book back in 1978. I was still in middle school back then and it intrigued me so much that I eventually came to do a lot more reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, Richard the Lionhearted, King John (Lackland)and the Plantagenet intrigues and accomplishments of the 12th century. Ms. Lofts had a way of really engaging the reader in making Eleanor a real woman: a woman both vulnerable and truly strong. Indeed, she was both. I recommend this book wholeheartedly for those who might like to get a feel for what medieval life for the Plantagenets was like as well as what it might have been like for a very priveleged noblewoman of great intelligence and legendary beauty.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robin J. on June 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
2010 is the summer of Eleanor of Aquitaine with many books being published about this illustrious medieval queen. This novel is not new but a reissue of one published in the 1950s by this wonderful historical fiction author. Lofts' novels are always well researched and this is no exception, even though it is rather short.

Lofts begins her novel with Eleanor almost on the eve of her marriage to the French King in 1137 and follows her life up to the point where she is returning to England to keep a handle on things for her son Richard (who is leaving for his crusade) in 1190. The reader will catch glimpses of her marriage to King Louis, their disastrous crusade, and her tumultuous marriage to Henry II. I found this book a very easy and quick read - in fact, too quick. While Lofts' information is certainly good, in a book of this small size many events in Eleanor's life are glazed over. As eventful as Eleanor's life was, Lofts seems to focus more on the more mundane, everyday aspects of her life, which isn't a bad thing but as all the truly important events are mentioned only briefly the novel does seem to drag a bit and could be construed as "boring." This novel did seem to spend more time on Eleanor's years as Henry's captive which was rather interesting to read about. I do have my doubts about a few of the events that happened to her while she was a captive but I did enjoy getting more of a look at those years. There really was nothing "new" about Lofts' Eleanor and she portrays her in quite a favorable light. All the other major players in history (Henry, Richard, John, etc.) are there but they are just not focused on so the reader is not going to get much about their lives and feelings.

As far as historical fiction goes, this novel is about average.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. E. Kennedy on January 15, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Eleanor of Aquitaine must be one of the most interesting women in history. Her intellegence, her legendary beauty and her joint crusade with her first husband, the King of France would make for an amazing story alone. Now add to it that she was also the wife of King Henry II of England and the mother of Richard the Lionheart (and SEVERAL other children) and you have the makings of an epic story filled with love, betrayal, political intrigue and so much more! Instead, Lofts tells a nice story though uninspiring which touches areas of excitement briefly toying with them and then instead wanders down the a road that is interesting but dull. This is my third Norah Lofts novel and I am still seeking the same talent and style I found in A Wayside Tavern. I am again left disappointed and wondering how the same woman wrote that book and this.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on April 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
In the twelfth century, Eleanor of Aquitaine was probably the most influential woman in Europe. She married French King Louis VII and accompanied the devout ruler on the failed Crusade in the Holy Land; there she was not just an idle observer. However, though she gave him two daughters, she could never fully get past his male advisors who her spouse preferred to heed. Fifteen years after they married, they divorced. Back in Aquitaine, she met teenager Henry Plantagenet, twelve years her junior. They marry and one day soon he became England's King Henry II of England. They had many offspring and seemed a perfect couple until she discovered his infidelity with Rosamonde. Her furor led to a family schism between her husband and their sons as she lingered in prison for almost two decades.

This is a superb biographical fiction tale starring a strong medieval woman who was queen to two powerful kings in two countries. Eleanor comes across somewhat as a modern female, which attracted powerful men to her, yet ironically also led to her troubles with them. Twelfth century France and England are vividly described as is the failed Crusade. However, even with several powerful rulers in her life, Eleanor the Queen rules over her spouses and offspring monarchs in Norah Loft's fine historical fiction novel.

Harriet Klausner
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