This past Saturday I picked up 4 books from the library, and one of those books recently rescued me from being in a book rut. The book is titled, “Captive Queen,” by Alison Weir. “Captive Queen,” is a historical fiction novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine. I was immediately excited to read it because there aren’t many books about Eleanor, and the only ones I did know about her were in The Royal Diaries series and Elizabeth Chadwick’s trilogy about Eleanor. This was also the first book by Alison Weir that I have read. I was immediately hooked when I started reading Saturday, and I finished reading it Wednesday night. Eleanor was the mother of some famous kings, Richard the Lion Heart and King John were two of them.
I liked how the book began when Eleanor was already thirty and already wanting out of being married to King Louis. Eleanor and Louis had some love for each other but they were two different people that unfortunately were married so young with no choice. Louis was more suited to being a monk or a priest, while Eleanor was worldlier and wanted a knightly gallant husband. The two of them did everything they could to fix their marriage but ended up getting an annulment. I also enjoyed that we read Eleanor’s point of view as well as her second husband King Henry II’s point of view. I also loved how Eleanor tried to have some type of relationship with her two eldest daughters from Louis after being forced to give up custody of them. All we knew was that Louis had custody and that was that. I also liked that a few saints showed up in the book too Saint Bernard and Saint Thomas Beckett.
There wasn’t much I disliked about the book really. I will say however that I think what would have made this book better is if it was written in first person point of view from both Eleanor and Henry, rather than it being in third person. I think the book didn’t have to mention so much about Eleanor’s sexual appetite. We know because she did have seven children with Henry, and her affairs when she was with Louis.
Overall I enjoyed the novel. It brought me out of a very bad book rut. I can’t wait to read more from Alison Weir. I have one of her other books, “A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower,” on hold at the library. Some people might not like the fact that Weir had to add things in that may or may not happen, but since details about Eleanor’s life isn’t well known, and not everything in history is recorded or the details unclear an author has to fill in the blanks. If you’re a fan of history, especially royal history, check out “Captive Queen.”