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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver

4.6 17
by E. L. Konigsburg

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Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings, mother to two others, has been waiting in Heaven a long time — eight centuries, more or less — to be reunited with her second husband, Henry II of England. Finally, the day has come when Henry will be judged for admission. While Eleanor, never a patient woman in life or afterlife, waits, three people, each


Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings, mother to two others, has been waiting in Heaven a long time — eight centuries, more or less — to be reunited with her second husband, Henry II of England. Finally, the day has come when Henry will be judged for admission. While Eleanor, never a patient woman in life or afterlife, waits, three people, each of whom was close to Eleanor during a time of her life, join her. Their reminiscences do far more than help distract Eleanor — they also paint a rich portrait of an extraordinary woman who was front and center in a remarkable period in history and whose accomplishments have had an important influence on society through the ages.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Eleanor of Aquitaine, not a patient woman, waits in heaven to be reunited with her husband, Henry II of England. They have been separated for eight hundred years, with Henry waiting elsewhere to finally move Up. With her are three friends from Earth who reminisce about the life of one of history's most colorful women. Eleanor marries and divorces the king of France, then weds the English king. She becomes mother to several kings and great grandmother to Saint Louis. She is proud, loves beautiful clothes and trappings and is very far-sighted in her thinking. What a clever way to create an historical biography. Through various voices comes the colorful life of an extraordinary woman who over a period of eighty years influenced the history of medieval Europe. Most wives of the era were considered chattel, yet Eleanor managed to defy both husband and change the court rules for behavior and love. Pen and ink drawings include a historical map and family genealogy. Koningsburg's imaginative work is a timeless treasure to be enjoyed by generations of readers. 2001 (orig. 1973), Aladdin Paperbacks/Simon & Schuster,
— Laura Hummel <%ISBN%>068984624X

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
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Product dimensions:
5.12(w) x 7.62(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

DURING HER LIFETIME Eleanor of Aquitaine had not been a patient woman. While she had lived, she had learned to bide her time, but biding one's time is a very different thing from patience. After she had died, and before she had arrived in Heaven, it had been necessary for Eleanor to learn some patience. Heaven wouldn't allow her Up until she had. But there were times, like today, when she wasn't sure whether she had really learned any patience at all or whether she had simply become too tired to be quarrelsome.

Today she was restless. She paced back and forth so rapidly that the swish of her robes ruffled the treetops below. For today was the day when her husband, King Henry II of England, was to be judged. Today she would at last know whether or not — after centuries of waiting — he would join her in Heaven.

Henry had died even before she had. He had died in the year 1189, in July of that year, and Eleanor had spent fifteen years on Earth beyond that. But Eleanor's life had not been perfect; she had done things on Earth for which there had been some Hell to pay, so she had not arrived in Heaven immediately. Finally, the world's poets had pleaded and won her case. Eleanor had been a friend of music and poetry while she had lived, and musicians, artists and poets play an important role in the admissions policies of Heaven; with their pull Eleanor had moved Up. Even so, she had not arrived in Heaven until two centuries after she had died and long after her first husband and some of her best friends had made it. Now it was late in the twentieth century, and Henry still had not moved Up.

Eleanor began drumming her fingers on a nearby cloud.

"You keep that up, and you'll have the Angels to answer to for it," said a voice, one cloud removed.

"Oh, Mother Matilda, I swear you could nag a person to a second death."

A man sitting beside Mother Matilda pleaded, "Your mother-in-law is only reminding you that we have all been requested to stop drumming our fingers and to stop racing back and forth. The Angels don't appreciate having to answer hundreds of requests for better television reception."

"I know, William, I know," Eleanor answered.

"After all," Mother Matilda added, "we are every bit as anxious as you are to know the outcome of today's Judgment."

"You ought to be patient, my lady," William said.

"Yes," Eleanor answered. "I know. I know what I ought to be. I have always known what I ought to be."

But the truth was that Eleanor actually enjoyed not being patient. When she felt impatient, she felt something close to being alive again. Even after more than five hundred years in Heaven, Eleanor of Aquitaine still missed quarreling and dressing up. Eleanor missed strong, sweet smells. Eleanor missed feeling hot and being cold. Eleanor missed Henry. She missed life.

She sighed. She wanted to be there the minute Henry arrived — if he would; there was a great deal to tell him. It had taken Eleanor almost five hundred years to catch up on the two hundred she had missed. She often thought that the worst thing about time spent in Hell is that a person has no way of knowing what is happening on Earth. In Heaven at least, one could watch, even if one could not participate. Only Saints and Angels were allowed to interfere in Earthly affairs. Everyone in Heaven had periods of Earth time about which they knew nothing. Everyone except the Saints; they always came Up immediately following death, and, of course, Heaven had always been home to the Angels. But Saints were hardly the people to contact when you wanted to catch up on the news. Most of them had been more concerned with Heaven than with Earth even during their lifetimes, and now it was almost impossible to move them even a whisper away from the Angels.

Meet the Author

E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View from Saturday. Among her other acclaimed books are Silent to the Bone, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World.

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Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a middle school asignment. I thought it was very good and just about anyone would enjoy this marvelous book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. Although the task of telling Eleanor's story is not an easy one, the author was able to make the book both informative and entertaining. I loved the strange concepts of heaven, hell, and the afterlife &quot;admissions process&quot; that this book introduced. Great read.
sophia_alexander More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book.  Amazing history, but Konigsburg makes it special with the way she words it all.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was a read again. I had to read it for a progect and thoght it was a great book. It is not that hard to understand and is not a suspence book, but it is a page turner. It is educational but at the same time enjoyable.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I first read an earlier edition of this book about four years ago (when I was still in gradeschool). Today during english, we discussed the life of Eleanor of Aqcuitaine. I remembered this book and simply had to find it. The fact that the memory of this book remained with me for that long simply goes to show how skillfully it was written. I learned much about Eleanor, and am currently ordering a copy for myself because I feel it is one of the best books I have ever read. If you are interested in Eleanor but do not want a difficult book to read or understand, I suggest this book. If you want a book that provides life and insight, along with humour, into the life of Eleanor, I suggest reading this book. Enjoy :)
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a great book and very interesting. how she changes during the book but a little stays the same. You have just got to read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you like historial fiction, queen eleanor of aquitaine, or are just looking for a reeeeeeeally good book, pick this one!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a very interesting book and for once, this was the kinda book that was actually fun to read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a good book. We are reading it for my English class.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This humorus novel about the life of Queen Eleanor is most enjoyable. I read it in English class and proved to be really interesting! And after you read it, I strongly suggest that you watch the movie 'The Lion in The Winter.' Our class did, and it goes really well with the book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
you learned a lot about history in an enthusiastic and delightful way, from many people's perspectives. I recommend this to everybody. You don't even realize how much you've learned until you' ve finished the book. You learn so much in a fun way.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell in love with this book when I first read it in middle school, even though I HATED anything to do with history. I bought it for my nook in a fit of nostalgia and found out it works on a more adult level, too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is based on Middle Ages Europe where Queen Eleanor reigned in France and England, as well as the Aquitaine after her father, mother, and brother died. She is a very sassy woman, and this book can be fairly funny if you will read her autobiography first. I personally did not like it, but you may if historical fiction is your taste. I found there to be no point to the book, and the ending was pretty obvious. I would definitaly NOT recommend this book to non-history buffs, but for you history buffs out there, sure take a crack at it. You may find it interesting enough, and I may sound crazy, but you are listening to a historical fiction HATER. Historical Fiction is not my field of interest. Please read my recommended titles!