Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Winter Crown - Elizabeth Chadwick

It is the winter of 1154 and Eleanor, Queen of England, is biding her time. While her husband King Henry II battles for land across the channel, Eleanor fulfils her duty as acting ruler and bearer of royal children. But she wants to be more than this - if only Henry would let her.

Instead, Henry belittles and excludes her, falling for a young mistress and leaving Eleanor side-lined and angry. And as her sons become young men, frustrated at Henry's hoarding of power, Eleanor is forced into a rebellion of devastating consequences. She knows how much Henry needs her, but does Henry know himself?

Overflowing with scandal, politics, sex, triumphs and tragedies, The Winter Crown is the much-awaited new novel in this trilogy and a rich, compelling story in its own right.

REVIEW: I admit that I dove into this without having read the first book in this Alienor (Eleanor) series, The Summer Queen. Despite this, the story was immediately engaging and, while it was helpful that I'm familiar with this nugget of history, it was not crucial in order to follow this installment.

This book is also the first I've read by Elizabeth Chadwick, whose period details and writing style are spectacular. She has a knack for turning obscure facts into interesting tidbits, weaving a story from the delicate threads of an unknown perspective—that of the queen, Alienor of Aquitaine. Needless to say, her bringing to life the more well known and better documented  events are done so with a unique and absorbing, wonderfully colorful flair.

Alienor is everything we expect her to be—strong, powerful, calculating—but also human and relatable. While the book does have a few moments where I felt my pesky “we can skim through this part” poke through, as Alienor's story unfolds, we get to see genuine growth in our heroine, and the novel as a whole is outstanding.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.


Amazon Link: Winter Crown

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