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Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel (The Queens of Love and War Book 2) by [Jones, Ellen]
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Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel (The Queens of Love and War Book 2) Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Brisk, cogent and bristling with engaging characters, this sequel to The Fatal Crown follows the wily Eleanor of Aquitaine through 32 tumultuous years. Set between 1130 and 1162, Jones's new saga is pure romance, with a crusade to the Holy Land, civil war in England and devious political machinations used as colorful yet secondary background. Indulged, raised with pageantry and splendor, the fiery Eleanor becomes at age 15 heiress to the rich duchy of Aquitaine, and reluctantly marries Louis VII ("a huge, harmless rabbit"), the pallid, deeply pious French prince who ascends to the throne of France the day after the wedding. But the strong-minded Eleanor still has ideas of her own. ("If you do not care for the way things are, change them," counseled her equally independent grandmother.) After a divorce is granted because there is no heir to the throne, Eleanor marries the lusty Henry of Anjou, soon to become England's monarch, and the two give birth to a stormy yet fruitful dynasty that will bring prosperity to a land torn by civil war and rampant corruption. Some fascinating historical personages strut across the pages: the hostile Abbe Suger; Henry's formidable mother, Maud; Bellebelle, Henry's compliant mistress; and Thomas a Becket, the shrewd and ambitious chancellor who is about to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Loose ends deftly left untied point to yet another intriguing sequel.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Jones revisits the medieval England she portrayed in Fatal Crown (S. & S., 1991), but this time her characters are the familiar Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II. Duchess of Aquitaine in her own right, 15-year-old Eleanor longs for romance and shared power with her husband. Her disastrous marriage to the monkish Louis of France is dissolved for failure to produce an heir. Eleanor then marries Henry, Duke of Normandy, 11 years her junior but her equal in ambition and passion. Their early years are marked by a growing family and empire as Eleanor bears six children and Henry becomes Count of Anjou and King of England. A sequel is likely since Eleanor and Henry do not become the enemies of the title until their sons are grown. Jones focuses here on the personal relationship between Henry and Eleanor rather than the political events of the day, and her work is distinguished from James Goldman's classic A Lion in Winter (LJ 12/1/66) by its focus on Eleanor's early years. Recommended for general collections of historical fiction.
Mary Ann Parker, California Dept. of Water Resources Law Lib., Sacramento
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2448 KB
  • Print Length: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Romance; 1st edition (January 29, 2013)
  • Publication Date: January 29, 2013
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AYRI59M
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,792 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lesley West on November 29, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Before you start off reading this book, be aware that it is historical fiction. And that for all that Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most famous high profile women of her time, very little isource documents remain and as such very little is actually known about her.

What is known about her is quite well represented in this book, but as is often the case, it has been done better elsewhere (Sharon Pennman's novels are far superior). However, if you are new to Eleanor and her turbulent love life, this is as good a place as any to start. It certainly presents her as fesity and compassionate, and indeed I like to think that this is an accurate representation.

However, the author delves into areas such as her relationship with her uncle that have never been proved by the most vigorous research as anything but gossip, and whereas this may make for an amusing chapter or two in the novel, I couldn't help but think that it lessened the reading of the story for me. It is hard to believe that she who was so aware of her status would be so foolish. Similarly this novel deals only with the time when her relationship with Henry is turbulent, but still loving. Fans of the time will know that things ended very, very differently.

That being said, it is an entertaining novel, with some good research into the mores and habits of the time. It paints both Eleanor and Henry sympathetically enough, but it could have been much, much better.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a British history buff! I read everything about the British Isles, history and fiction. I loved the Fatal Crown and after finishing it (nothing good lasts forever) I immediately began to read Beloved Enemy, which I also enjoyed to the max. I'm eagerly awaiting the third installment of the series and hoping there would be a fourth one (After all, the Plantagenets could fill many volumes). Please, Ellen Jones, WRITE, WRITE!!! I love your books!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a massive fan of historical fiction, I decided to read this book after reading some of the positive reviews of it. While the book wasn't bad, I did have some issues with it:

1) It was a bit tedious at times, particularly the internal dialogue during the interactions between Henry and Eleanor / Thomas. There was a lot of innuendo throughout the book that was a bit redundant because we had already figured everything out ages ago.

2) I definitely think some description of love-making is necessary, but I felt like I was reading a trashy romance novel at quite a few points. Other historical fiction authors don't go into that much graphic detail, and I think some of it's a bit unnecessary.

3) While I appreciate the author's desire to inject as much actual history as possible in the book, I think the way in which its significance was emphasised was a bit much. The example that stands out most in my mind was when Henry created a judge and jury trial in the country: The author's description of that event was quite interesting on its own, but having Eleanor mention how she felt that she was witnessing something that would "change the realm forever" was a bit much. Yes, we know it was a life-changing event but it's a stretch to portray Eleanor as this all-seeing wise woman that fully understands the full depth of any given situation. Let's face it - how many people are really like that?

If you're into historical fiction, it's definitely worth a read - if only to increase your taste for learning more about the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. There is another book that continues this story, but I won't be reading it. Not my cup of tea.
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Format: Kindle Edition
The story starts out in Poitou, 1130 when Eleanor is 8 and she is dealing with the death of her mother and brother. It then moves forward to Bordeaux, Aquitaine, June 1137 when her father dies and she becomes the Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitou. It sheds light on her miserable marriage to King Louis VII, the birth of her two daughters, and her marriage being annulled from him. The story then moves on to her marriage to Henry of Anjou, Duke of Normandy and follows them as they take England by storm with their crowning as King and Queen and the births of their children. There are also details of Henry's relationship with Thomas Becket, his parents, and Ms. Jones take on Henry's relationship with his bastard son, Geoffrey, and the relationship he had with Geoffrey's mother. There aren't a lot of factual records on her but I did like where Ms. Jones took the storyline. The book ends where the children are young and Eleanor has returned to Aquitaine alone for a visit as more or less a renewal of her spirits. I am looking forward to reading Gilded Cages: The Trials of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel (The Queens of Love and War) as the story continues.

There are all the historical facts as well as the rumors that abounded in Eleanor's life and I truly enjoyed Ellen Jones take on the fictional aspects of this book. I never tire of reading about Eleanor and Henry and did not find that I was reading something I've already read, the fictional parts being that good.

*Received from publisher through Net Galley for an unbiased, honest review*
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