Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Secret Eleanor-Cecelia Holland

The Secret Eleanor
Cecelia Holland
Berkley, Aug 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425234501

By 1151, the Duchess of Aquitaine is perhaps the most powerful female on the continent even before she marries elderly French King Louis VII. However, being the Queen of France fails to live up to the title as expected by Eleanor. In fact she is treated with scorn and feels she has lost some of influence rather than see it expand as she anticipated.

When he son of the Duke of Anjou Henry visits the royal court, Eleanor feels the younger man is her male counterpart especially since he has a strong chance of becoming the King of England. Although her husband has her constantly watched, Eleanor and Henry secretly meet and plot for her to dissolve her marriage to Louis and wed Henry.

Although Eleanor has been the star of biographical fiction (see The Captive Queen by Alison Weir, The Courts of Love by Jean Plaidy, and Eleanor The Queen by Nora Lofts) numerous times, Cecilia Holland provides a strong tale that focuses on her motivations. Although the key historical events are not new to sub-genre fans, readers will enjoy the latest Eleanor of Aquitaine fictionalized account as Ms. Holland affirms the two-time Queen set the stage for powerful females who follow her lead over the centuries

Harriet Klausner


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