The Queen's Pawn [NOOK Book]

Overview

A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne.

At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal ...
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The Queen's Pawn

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Overview

A historical novel of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine and the one person she loved more than power-her rival for the throne.

At only nine, Princess Alais of France is sent to live in England until she is of age to wed Prince Richard, son of King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is an innocent pawn on the chessboard of dynastic marriage, her betrothal intended to broker an uneasy truce between the nations.

Estranged from her husband, Eleanor sees a kindred spirit in this determined young girl. She embraces Alais as a daughter, teaching the princess what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But as Alais grows to maturity and develops ambitions of her own, Eleanor begins to see her as a threat-and their love for each other becomes overshadowed by their bitter rivalry, dark betrayals, conflicting passions, and a battle for revenge over the throne of England itself.




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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101186442
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 222,966
  • File size: 386 KB

Meet the Author

Christy English

Christy English has a bachelor's degree in history from Duke University. The Queen's Pawn is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(9)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended! A great Read!

    I was delighted when I was given an opportunity to read and review this book! Because there is such a dearth of information about Eleanor of Aquitaine I especially enjoy books that delve into what her life's story might have been. The additional high point of this book is that it includes the story of Princess Alais (the 'pawn'), daughter of King Louis of France (who was also Eleanor's first husband) by a previous marriage. Alais is seldom a character in books since even less is known about her life than about Eleanor's.

    Ms. English has done a stellar job at recreating a part of Eleanor's life - after she left King Louis and was married to King Henry. Princess Alais was betrothed to Eleanor and Henry's oldest son Richard and she was sent to England to be brought up in the ways of the English Court prior to her marriage. She falls in love with her intended but feels betrayed when she discovers him in a compromising position with one of Eleanor's maids-of-honor. Ultimately Alias comes to feel betrayed by not only her fiance but also by Eleanor - who had adopted her as a daughter and who had loved her far beyond her role as a soon-to-be mother-in-law.


    Alais soon seduces King Henry becoming his lover - unseating even the powerful Rosamund Clifford in Henry's affections. This, then, is her revenge against Richard and Eleanor. Fast forward to a time when Eleanor has crafted a plan to have her three sons,Geoffrey, Henry and Richard to rebel against King Henry. Alais and Henry's relationship had become more tepid in the two years that they have been together. Alais, heavily pregnant with their child learns that Henry is about to move against Richard whom Alais still secretly loves. Rushing to Eleanor's rooms (where Richard , conveniently, is talking with his mother). Alais warns them of Henry's planned attack - thus saving Richard and returning to her long missed place in Eleanor's affections. Henry banishes Eleanor and holds her in various castles in the ensuing years while Alais is banished to a convent after miscarrying a daughter that she named Rose. The final chapters of the book deal with the time after Alis and Eleanor are effectively imprisoned - and the, after the death of Henry when they are both released by Richard. Richard ultimately marries Berengaria of Navarre and what happens to Princess Alais is lost to the annals of unrecorded history. It is thought that she perhaps returned to France.

    This book is a wonderful, well-researched look at life in a 13th century castle. The every day comes alive with well crafted, well researched glimpses at what a meal in the great hall would have been like - or what a solar or bed chamber might have looked like. Christy English also offers a concise history of the true facts at the end of the book, which I appreciated very much - it allows some perspective and also reveals how closely she did follow the true facts as far as possible. This book really allows the reader to escape into another world and that, to my way of thinking, is the mark of a really good read. I am looking forward to Ms. English's next book with eager anticipation!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great story with a different focus.

    Historical Fiction is probably my favorite genre. In addition, I love to read anything that has to do with royalty, fiction or non fiction. So a book with Eleanor of Acquitane, Henry II, Richard Lionheart, and Alais of France was right up me alley. Although Christy English was a new author to me, I expected the subject matter to be old and familiar. It was, but at the same time Ms. English was able to bring new life to an old friend. This was not just another story about Eleanor, but the story of Alais of France, a young girl who was sent from her home at an early age to live in Eleanor's court.

    I have to state at the beginning, that while I expect historical fiction to be based in facts, for me it is really about the story. I get my factual data from non-fiction biographies and histories, and look to my historical fiction to draw me in with the story of the characters and times. This book certainly filled that criteria. I loved the story of Alais and how she grew from a timid little girl into a strong woman. Do I think that this story represents that total truth? No. Did I enjoy the story as it was told? Definitely. The women, both Eleanor and Alais, were strong characters. In addition, I loved the way the author made both Richard and Henry a bit vulnerable, even though, in the end, Henry stayed true to his ruthless character. Like a lot of the historical fiction that I love, this story made me want to read more about the Eleanor, Alais, Henry II, and Richard Lionheart.

    Another kudo goes to the author for acknowledging and explaining her use of artistic license in telling the story contained in her book. I always read Author's Notes and Acknowledgments and was pleased to see Ms. English discuss the actual chronology or her divergences from them in her notes.

    Bottom line, Ms. English is a great story teller. Her characters were well developed, the story line was interesting and compelling, and she gave the story a bit of a different focus, which made it fun to read. I am looking forward to reading her newest book about Eleanor in the near future.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Good choice for fans of historical fiction

    Princess Alais of France, the daughter of King Louis of France, is brokered in marriage to Prince Richard the Lionheart, son of King Henry and Louis' ex Eleanor of Aquitaine. Alais is only 9 years old at the time, but she is sent away to live in a convent in England until she is of marriageable age.

    At fourteen years of age, Alais is brought to Winchester Castle to meet her betrothed, and to be presented to the King and gain his approval for the marriage. She is under the wing of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who becomes something of a mother to Alais, and the only one that Alais has ever known, her own mother having died during her birth.

    Soon after Alais turns against her adoptive mother Eleanor and betrothed Richard, and turns towards King Henry, becoming his mistress.

    This story was fairly well-developed, the characters of Alais and Eleanor were relatively well fleshed out. Probably the main issue is that, as I get back into reading and try different genres, I find that historical fiction is probably not the best genre for me. I always find myself a little bored. It just doesn't give me that "edge of my seat" thrill that I seek when reading. However this is absolutely no fault of the author.

    So I would say that if you like historical fiction, then you would probably really enjoy this story and should give it a go. Me? I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A great medieval tale

    In 1169, eleven years old Alais, Princess of France understands she is just another useless female except as a pawn in a marital alliance. Whereas her mother died birthing her, Alais' older married step-sisters were spawned by the wicked Queen Eleanor who was her father King Louis' first wife before she divorced him to marry the English monarch Henry II. Alais' dad informs her she will marry Prince Richard, son of the devils King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    Ever since Henry exiled her for his lover Rosamunde, Eleanor, though behaving, considers how she can place one of her sons on the throne; with Richard her first choice. When she meets Alais, Eleanor is stunned as the girl reminds her of her herself. She mentors the Princess of France to be her daughter-in-law, but does it out of love. Alais cherishes her teacher, but as she becomes a young woman, she wants much more than Eleanor allows for her. Soon, their mother-daughter like relationship turns acrimonious as the younger uses the power tips the older taught her boldly and brazenly to go after the top prize.

    Although Eleanor has been the star of other biographical fictions, this is a refreshing account as the audience sees the late twelfth century world of England and to a lesser degree France through the eyes of the two female powerhouses. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this deep saga as two women vie for control of the English stage using men of rank as pawns in their chess match.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Disappointing/clearly written for a young audience

    After reading Sharon Kay Penman's excellent new book, Lionheart, I was looking forward to reading another account of Richard, Eleanor of Aquitaine, and delve back into the 12th century. The Queen's Pawn was a disappointing experience for me. The writing style, character development as well as historical context is better suited for a young audience (grades 8 - 12 perhaps). I could not finish the book, but plan to donate to our community library for their Young Reader's section.

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  • Posted May 10, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    review taken from One Book At A Time

    I like historical fiction. I enjoy reading about people who lived long ago, especially royalty. While the truth may be fabricated, stretched, etc, I feel it can give a sense of who people were. I enjoyed The Queen's Pawn because it introduced me to characters I knew little about.

    My impression of Princess Alais was that she was very naive. Things must have been different in her father's court. It seems she had no idea how treacherous life as a royal could be. Especially in a court such as Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine. She truly believed that Richard loved only her. Why it's possible that he did, she really believed he wouldn't take any other lover. To me, that would be a given. I was a little surprised and Eleanor's betrayal of her. But, in my opinion it fits with her character. She was always trying to find a way to best her husband. He didn't have her locked away for nothing.

    Why I'm sure that many people find it unbelievable that Henry took up with a 14-year-old, I don't. Girls were married off young and expected to perform there wifely duties. I think it's a hard concept for us to grasp in modern times. I wonder if he was really interested or just more intrigued of what it would do to Eleanor. They really had a very violent relationship. While, it might not have been so public of a relationship, it's widely rumored to have occurred.

    Another point that shows how naive Alais was, was her belief that she could bend Henry II to do what she wanted. I didn't like her during this part of the story. I get that she felt betrayed by both Richard and Eleanor, but she really become something worse than that. How she could honestly believe she could control him when Eleanor couldn't is really beyond me. You could anticipate when he would walk away from her. The ending did feel a little rushed though. But, maybe she finally just grew up and realized she couldn't get what she thought she wanted. Once again she was naive (although she was right) to think that Eleanor and Richard would forgive her for her even bigger betrayal.

    I enjoyed the story, even if certain points were rearranged to fit the author's story line. It may be more fiction than fact, but the dynamic of the story were great. I liked how Eleanor and Richard were portrayed. It was almost like there behavior reflected the calm before the storm.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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