To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine

To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine

by Christy English


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The author of The Queen's Pawn delves into the early life of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine in her new historical novel.

After her father's sudden death, fifteen-year-old Eleanor is quickly crowned Duchess of Aquitaine and betrothed to King Louis VII. When her new husband cannot pronounce her given name, Alienor becomes Eleanor, Queen of France.

Although Louis is enamored of his bride, the newly crowned king is easily manipulated by the church and a God that Eleanor doesn't believe in. Now, if she can find the strength to fight for what she wants, Eleanor may finally find the passion she has longed for, and the means to fulfill her legacy as Queen.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451232304
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Pages: 400
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.88(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Christy English is the author of two historical novels, The Queen's Pawn and To Be Queen: A Novel fo the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitane. She received her undergraduate degree in history from Duke University.

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To Be Queen: A Novel of the Early Life of Eleanor of Aquitaine 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
literarymuseVC More than 1 year ago
"As I sat alone in my tent, with only Amaria to attend me, I wondered. Perhaps it was time to build a new dream for myself." What is it like to be raised by a loving father who instilled a sense of equality and dignity in a daughter that would enable her to rule the Province of Aquitaine one day? How does one maintain that dream in a world of marriage to King Louis VII, the boy King who loves the Catholic Church more than his kingdom or wife, for the most part, who considers sexual relations to be a grievous sin for which he must constantly repent? This is the story of Eleanor's early years when she is clinging to her independence in a world that sees woman as worthy of dalliance, piety, and childbirth. Correction - most woman are allowed dalliance, but the Queen of France is expected to be the model Christian Queen. At first she believes she can bring Louis around to be a close husband in all ways but gradually she knows it's a losing battle against Louis' confessors, one of whom will later reveal grievous crimes beyond one's comprehension. Travel with Eleanor and Louis on their way to the Crusades in Jerusalem, experiencing the architecture, interior design, food, and styles of the citizens of Constantinople, Antioch, and more European cities that greet this royal couple with joy while their leaders reveal scintillating and devious motivations and acts that continue to shock and alarm the reader. Know the brief joy that Eleanor finds with two men throughout these years and finally one,Henry of Normandy, to whom she will give her heart, mind and soul forever. Christy English has written a well-researched but quite realistic picture of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who "became" the renowned fiery, powerful leader during these younger years when life seemed fragile and yet glorious enough to grasp, live in fully, and celebrate with those who shared her dreams. Ever provocative, unpredictable, humorous, and free in spirit, Eleanor will delight you through every page of this very, very enjoyable novel. Delightful, Christy English!
harstan More than 1 year ago
Her father Duke of Aquitaine William X trained Eleanor to maneuver her way through the volatile lethal world of regal politics. When he died when she was fifteen, she became the duchess as he mentored her to be. Her people adored and cherished their duchess. French King Louis adores Eleanor and three months after she became duchess she became his queen. They have two daughters, but Eleanor is disappointed in her spouse as he allows the Church to direct him instead of his acting as the monarch. Their marriage is shaky and collapses when Eleanor meets dynamic Henry of Normandy. Eleanor ends her marriage to Louis and crosses the Channel to wed her beloved Henry. This is a biographical fictional prequel to The Queen's Pawn with much of the focus on the first royal marriage of Eleanor of Aquitaine. At a time when female power meant no power, Eleanor learned starting with her mentoring father how to navigate a world of backstabbing betrayers to become a queen on both sides of the Channel. Well written, sub-genre readers, especially those who cherish the medieval period, will want to read Christy English's entertaining look at the prototype for woman power. Harriet Klausner
pennwriter on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lively trip through the early life of Eleanor of Aquitaine -- she must have been extraordinary, and Christy English's book reflects that. An historical romance that makes a compelling read.
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine by Christy English tells the story of Eleanor during her time as Queen of France with Louis VII. At 15, after her father dies Eleanor becomes Duchess of Aquitaine and Countess of Poitiers and within months becomes the queen consort of Louis VII, King of France. Eleanor soon finds that being Queen of France is not what she expected. Parisians do not like her and her husband loves her but does not often share a bed with Eleanor and he prefers the church. Eleanor goes with her husband on the Second Crusade, which was not successful. After having two daughters by Louis, Eleanor wants to have her marriage annuled. The church would not allow it and the pope blessed their marriage in hopes that a son would be born for the throne. This does not happen and eventually the marriage between Louis and Eleanor is annulled. Eleanor meets the love of her life, Henry II, Duke of the Normans, and they marry after her marriage is annulled. Eleanor is the only woman to have been queen of both France and England. In this novel, Christy English has brought this era to light as not a lot novels have been written about her early years. As queen to Louis, I do not think that Eleanor was at her full potential, as we know that in later years she was a very powerful woman. I enjoyed this accounting of Eleanor of Aquitaine and hope to read more by this author. Like history?? Then this a book for your collection..
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Author Christy English takes on the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine in her latest novel To Be Queen. Though this is only English's second novel after 2010's The Queen's Pawn, she commands a strong sense of world-building and historical detail, plus she makes the story feel like it's true to history while still balancing fiction and entertainment for the reader. There's also been an obvious improvement in writing skill and storytelling since The Queen's Pawn, plus English's personal interested in and love for Eleanor of Aquitaine shines through as she seeks to reveal the woman behind the legend.Eleanor (or, as she was born, Alienor) has spent much of her young life knowing that she was the sole heir to the Duchy of Aquitaine and being tutored by her father in the ways of politics, court intrigues and, most importantly, her duty to Aquitaine and her people. After spending nearly a decade working out a marriage contract, Eleanor's father suddenly dies and Eleanor goes to France to marry the Dauphin, Louis. Not long after, Louis becomes king, and Eleanor finds herself caught between her duty to the people of Aquitaine, her duty to Louis and France and, most importantly, her own ambitions. For when her marriage to Louis yields no male heirs, and no romance, she considers making her own way.Eleanor of Aquitaine has always been a fascinating woman to me. She defied so many social conventions of the time about women, and dared to follow her own ambitions instead of completely bowing to her husband or any other man. Instead, Eleanor was intelligent, strong, and ruthless (though not so much at this point in her life). Instead, she learns to survive in a man's world. English does a wonderful job of bringing the woman to life on the page, complete with well-developed characterization and a realistic sense that makes readers want to cheer for her. Eleanor's husband Louis is also well characterized, with his pious nature and obviously weaker personality, making him a poor companion for so strong a woman.Unfortunately, though, as much as Eleanor of Aquitaine has a lot of interesting history to explore, it feels like English is a tad bit late to the Eleanor party. I know of at least three historical fiction novels that were published last year about the famous Eleanor, and at least one other that's coming out this year. Despite this, of all the recent novels I've read about Eleanor, I think that English handles her the best and manages to make her feel human while still giving her strength. I certainly hope English plans to write sequels to this, as there is still so much more to explore about Eleanor's life after the events of To Be Queen -and it feels like things are just getting started!
MsDollie More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed reading "To Be Queen". I found the characterization of both Eleanor and Louis believable with neither portrayed as villains and/or victims. Perhaps not for those looking for in depth historical detail because of the strong romantic bent to the storyline.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read a lot about Eleanor of Aquitaine before. She was a strong, intelligent woman. However, there has been more recent research into her life that suggests certain differences from this book. She may have been born in1124, not 1122, aspreviously thought. More recent thinking is that she wasn't an unfaithful wife, as previously thought, just a dissatisfied one. In the 12th century, strong, independent women like Eleanor were frequently vilified and called whores, but that doesn't mean these accusations were true. Henry's promise to her that she'd rule beside him wasn't true, either. Henry II, as king, took all power into his own hands, and ruled alone through his appointed ministers and underlings. He was frequently unfaithful to Eleanor, but his dalliances were mostly short-lived. Only his affair with Rosamund Clifford lasted longer, which angered Eleanor. But the real reasons for his sons' rebellion was his refusal to give them real power, despite bestowing on them titles and lands, and this also lead Eleanor to support them. (In any case, I believe Rosamund clifford was already dead by the time the sons rebelled).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An interestng travel through history
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Jan_Romes More than 1 year ago
Eleanor of Aquitaine is a fascinating woman. She's strong even at times when she wants to cry. Her father instilled that sense of strength and she carries it throughout her struggles and achievements. She's an intelligent woman in a world dominated by men. Even though she's tough on the outside, she has a great capacity to love. I enjoyed Christy English's depiction of Eleanor in her early years. As she grew, I grew to love her. Ms. English did a great job with characterization, setting, and she didn't bog things down with so much needless detail that can sometimes smother my attention.
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