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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Friday, July 18, 2014

...a woman of her time!

The Summer Queen: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Elizabeth Chadwick

Alienor of Aquitane. She fascinates! Shakespeare wrote about her. Down through the ages she has been shrouded with the allure and rich patina of poetic legend. One of the strong women of history, she is, as Chadwick so elegantly stated in her author's note, ' a woman of her time doing her best within the boundaries of what society would permit...she was nothing if not resilient.' 
Elizabeth Chadwick once again delivers a 'tour de force' with this work about Alienor's early days, her marriage to Louis VII of France and her subsequent marriage to Henry Plantagenet. The story of her family, her girlhood cut short in marriage, her sister Petronella's behaviour, and her hopes for herself dashed. All quicken on the page and the reading flows smoothly, with a heartening intensity. The force of the characters in this page of history are brought alive. They are fascinating and perceivable. I laughed with her, was aghast with her, was angered and dismayed. Yet Alienor's rises above it all. 
I am impressed by the weight and depth of Chadwick's research. A mammoth task that has richly increased the interplay of fact and fiction.
Chadwick stated that 'drawing Alienor from out of the shadows has ultimately been one of [her] most rewarding experiences of [her] writing career.'
I certainly found it a rewarding read!

A NetGalley ARC

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