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The Queen's Daughter Hardcover – June 8, 2010

22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 9 Up This coming-of-age novel is set against the backdrop of 12th-century Europe. King Henry II of England is at war with France's King Louis VII, who happens to be supported by Henry's eldest sons. Henry's wife, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, gives lessons on politics and what it means to be a queen to their daughter Joan. Despite her notorious parents, this is Joan's story. Coventry does a thorough job of developing the princess's character as she grows from a naive child of seven at the start of the novel into a woman in her 30s who has full knowledge of the world around her. Readers are privy to Joan's thoughts about love for two parents who hate one another, her fear of becoming a child bride in an arranged marriage to the king of Sicily, and her uncertainty about how to please him. Throughout her many years of childless marriage to William, she holds feelings of adoration for the philandering Lord Raymond, Count of Toulouse. By the time they meet again, Joan is no shrinking violet, and she is finally able to fulfill all of her duties as a wife and strong female leader of her people. The battle scenes of the Crusades are necessary to the development of the plot and are thankfully short. Fans of historical fiction, and especially historical romance, will devour this volume. Wendy Scalfaro, G. Ray Bodley High School, Fulton, NY
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From Booklist

Joan is the only daughter of Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, the king of England. Her brothers, especially Henry and Richard, garner most of her father's attention, and Joan is by turns neglected and used by her feuding parents until she is married off in her teens to the sickly king of Sicily for political advantage. Joan struggles to understand herself and to make her marriage work while watching her family slowly destroy itself, all the while wondering if her parents' views of marriage and love are right or just politically expedient. Historical fiction about British royalty, set in the twelfth century no less, is unusual, and for that reason alone, this first novel is a solid choice. Coventry's focus is neither the battles nor the political intrigue, though both are important elements. Instead, her strength is character development, especially Joan's. The plot's pacing is slow at times, but the settings are vividly imagined, and readers will champion Joan in her search for love. Grades 9-12. --Melissa Moore
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (June 8, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805089926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805089929
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.4 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,287,240 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Susan Coventry is a physician living in Kentucky with her husband and two children. A lifelong addiction to historical fiction and a fascination with the middle ages led to The Queen's Daughter, her debut novel.
For more information, visit www.susancoventry.com or Susan's blog, Reading World, at http://susancoventry.blogspot.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Phyllis S. from Brooklyn NY VINE VOICE on July 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a major fan of historical fiction, and this story, told in clear, vivid prose, would not let go of me. We follow Joan, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Henry II, and sister of Richard the Lionhearted, from her childhood to her mid-twenties, as she tries to find not only love but in a sense her true self. She is torn this way and that by the strife between her parents, her favorite brother, Richard, and her other brothers. People who have seen the film THE LION IN WINTER will remember this was a hugely dysfunctional family with mammoth personalities. Here they come to life, with fascinating human complexity intact, seen through Joan's eyes. Eleanor in particular exerts an enormous influence over Joan. Among other things, she tells her that only a fool loves her husband.

In Joan, the author has created a believable and likable heroine. We watch her grow from girl to woman. At an early age, she is sent away from England to enter an arranged royal marriage. Will she find happiness with her new husband and in her role as queen of Sicily? The pull of Joan's original family remains strong. She ultimately goes on the Crusades and most dauntingly comes to an independent view of her mother and her adored brother, Richard.

This might be a surprisingly easy story for all too many modern young people to relate to. Joan starts out caught between two estranged, sometimes literally warring parents. Loving one of them seems like a betrayal of the other. The book has love, drama, and action, and gives the reader a multihued picture of the times. I read it in just a couple of days because I came to care so much about the heroine. I strongly recommend this book to both adults and teens.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amanda on April 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been trying to get my hands on this book for six months or more. Yeah, really. How many people would hold out that long for a book unless they REALLY wanted to read it. Well, after reading the description on Amazon and the reviews (not to mention being something of a historical fiction and YA fiction fan), I knew that The Queen's Daughter was the book for me. It seemed to have virtually everything I enjoy in a good historical -not to mention the Eleanor of Aquitaine connections, which always interest me. But, I could never seem to find it anywhere. My local library didn't have it. It was never at any Half Price Book location I visited. And, believe it or not, whenever I set foot in a Barnes & Noble, I couldn't ever find it. After coming into some Amazon gift cards, I decided it was finally time to invest in the book online.

In The Queen's Daughter, author Susan Coventry explores the life of Joan, the daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England with a YA-style approach. From a young age, Joan feels the pull of court politics, as well as the "taint" placed on her mother for divorcing (completely against the social conventions of the time) her first husband, King Louis of France, and marrying the up-and-coming Henry of Anjou (later king of England). Even worse, Joan must survive the strife between her mother and father as Henry's affections begin to wander. As soon as a deal can be made, Joan is sent to marry the king of Sicily, and thrown into yet another web of politics.

I guess I have mixed feelings about this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rebecca Herman HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 20, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As the youngest daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband, King Henry II of England, Joan is forced from a very young age to be wise and observant beyond her years. Her parents have a troubled relationship, and Joan often feels torn between them, and worried about her older brothers, particularly Richard who is her favorite, as her parents often have arguments about their sons.

While still a young girl, Joan is married off to King William of Sicily, who is ten years older than her. The marriage is not a loving one, as William has little use for Joan except to try and produce an heir, which is not successful as they are unable to have a child. Although she does not find happiness in marriage, as Queen of Sicily Joan matures into a strong and capable young woman, even going on Crusade with her brother Richard after the death of her husband.

The Queen's Daughter is a fascinating novel rich in historical detail. I love historical fiction about the Middle Ages and I love novels about real queens and princesses from history so this book combined two of my favorite topics in historical fiction. The Middle Ages is a time period often heavily romanticized in fiction, but as Joan's story shows, wealthy women of that time were virtual prisoners, married off by their families for political or monetary gain. Since only the basic facts of Joan's life are known, the author fills in the details, imagining Joan's life starting when she is seven and ending when she is in her early thirties. This is a book that I would highly recommend to both teens and adults who love historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy stories about real queens and princesses from history.
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