The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick - *I received an electronic copy from Netgalley for my honest review.*
Alienor of Aquitaine is one of the more fascinating women in history (for me). She married Louis of France because it was what her father wanted and entered into a loveless marriage in which her husband turned into a hateful, suspecting man. Louis doesn’t trust Alienor or really anyone and blames her for their lack of a male heir.
In Alienor’s time, women were useful for making strategic marriages, but not much more. Alienor, however, is not content to just sit by and watch Louis make mistakes. She took Louis’ measure and knows that any ideas must appear to be his for him to want to act on them.
I’ll start off by saying I probably wouldn’t have survived in those times. The attitude that says men are smarter than women in all things is just infuriating. Alienor feels the same, but she has the finesse to work her situation and make Louis turn towards her decisions without it seeming so.
In the first book of what will be a series, Chadwick shows the difficulties Alienor faced as a bride in France. Alienor never loses sight of Aquitaine, knowing that her vassals there are her first concern. Louis and Alienor are granted an annulment after years of marriage as neither can stand each other. However, Alienor still isn’t free. She becomes a “prize” to any man who can capture her. Alienor exerts her independence by choosing her husband and marrying Henry before she can be kidnapped and forced into any other marriage.
Chadwick brings Alienor to life in a way I haven’t seen before. Alienor’s frustrations become my own frustrations and I want her to succeed. Her interactions with Louis are a thing of beauty and I have to believe the tension Chadwick brings to life would have been similar to what was between the two. Instead of seeming like a trapped woman, Alienor is portrayed as a strong female character who knows her lot and how to improve it. Nothing she does is without purpose and her strength pours through each page.
Can’t wait to see the next two books from Chadwick.
New read for the weekend & lots of reviews to catch up on #busy #books
My newest read. Looking forward to this one
We went to see Neil Gaiman last night & he was amazing!
Today’s new read is The Fourth Bear by Jasper Fforde. The second book in the Nursery Crimes series. Anyone read it yet? There’s a new book in the series coming out sometime in the next year so I need to get caught up.
This late night reading habit is becoming a normal thing…
"The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak."
Ruin and Rising, pg 72
This one kept me reading until 4am & I’m still not finished.
A lot of people say New York is the mecca of book publishing. Heck, that’s part of the reason I moved here (a VERY large part). I don’t know if I wasn’t quite sure what to expect or if I just thought it would still be similar to Cincinnati.
I was so wrong.
There are book signings every other day if not every day. My venue of choice has been the Union Square Barnes & Noble. I saw Christopher Moore there the first week of May and Khaled Hosseini last night. My bestie saw John Waters Tuesday night. There are so many bookish events, it’s impossible to not find something that you would enjoy.
Maybe once I have a full-time job I’ll be able to attend every event I want to, but for now I’ll just prioritize my favorite authors. If you have a chance to see Christopher Moore, DO IT. He’s even funnier in person.
Khaled Hosseini is a fantastic speaker for a different reason. He spoke of what he calls his duty. He tells the stories of people so removed that most of us have no idea what these people go through. In his mind, the least he can do is give back by supporting programs in Afghanistan. It’s humbling to hear him speak about his experiences as a child, hearing that friends or relatives were shot, missing, injured. I knew he was capable of writing moving fiction, but he excels as a speaker.
We’ll see where the next few weeks take us!
I’m sitting at the Union Square Barnes & Noble waiting to see Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed. The last is the newest & my hands down favorite.
Part of the charm of New York, meeting/seeing so many great authors