Right off the top, let me say I really liked this book. It's a fully engaging and thoroughly believable novel. I was swept up in the stories and interactions of the sisters of the renowned Savoy family, Marguerite and Eleanor, from the first moments of introduction. Their very different personalities are richly developed, and while they are different in temperament and life challenges, they are both so intriguing and lovable it's difficult to call one a favorite over the other. I absorbed this book as if it were a story about Diana, Princess of Wales, and Katherine of England. It's that enjoyable to read. Before I knew it, I was half way through the novel!
Sophie Perinot is a solid writer with a good grasp of characterization. Her two sisters, as well as their two kings, the wicked mother-in-law ~ White Queen Blanche of Castille, and the sisters' children are so magnificently drawn. I could absolutely see them alive and feel their hearts' emotions and motivations. Beautifully written. Dialog was also appeared to be effortlessly rendered; it flowed and felt so natural. The intimate communications between characters were meaningful and telling.
I've read many a historical novel, some about each of these queens and their families, so I don't think it's any small task to have compiled this book, joining both dynasties in what reads with such elegance and ease. The book flows with intelligence and clarity. I found that one of the most refreshing things about it. I didn't have to be a scholar to understand the political "cookings" behind the thrones! Thank God, Ms Perinot distilled that down for me!
This is a romantic and absorbing historical fiction, one I found myself virtually flowing through effortlessly. It's a good read about two admirable women who birthed the foundations of world empires, and set the tones of historical manners and elegance for generations. Their life-long devotion to each other was poignant and an example that united their countries in heart and blood for generations.
I loved the novel, and pass it on to you with a high recommendation.