I just finished my first book of the year. Having nothing but time lends itself to doing nothing but reading. I doubt the rest of the books will be finished this quickly, however, I’ll take the opportunities as they come.
The first book I decided to read was The Queen’s Pawn, written by Christy English. I’m an avid reader of historical fiction, and especially those books having to do with English history. Something about the craziness surrounding the politics and lies of the royal court always draws me in. Usually, the books I read are set closer to the Tudor period, but this was set during the 11th century, something I haven’t read much of.
The book is written from two point of views; that of Alais, Princess of France, and that of Eleanor of Aquitaine. One is new to the game of royal politics and one is a calculating master of the game. They form a bond that you can see throughout the entire book. Alias is betrothed to Eleanor’s favorite son Richard, which ignites jealousy in Eleanor when she sees the true feelings her son and “adopted” daughter share for each other.
The book lasts over the span of several years, however the main focus is on a 6 month time period over which Alais learns more about herself and her powers as a woman, as well as the realities of court life. There were times when I absolutely hated Richard, thought Alais a naive girl, and wondered how Eleanor could claim to love both Richard and Alais, and yet play them as pawns in her game of treachery.
English did twist history around a little bit in order to tell her story, however most of the facts are true, they just happened at different dates. I found myself wanting to learn more about each of these people, and ended up spending an evening researching all the people and locations just to get a better idea of what was going on and the stories of each of these people.
I greatly enjoyed this book and the touch of history it brought. English managed to make me love characters I initially hated and see the reasoning behind their actions, even if it hurt others in the book. She made Eleanor an amazing woman whose strength should be admired and Alais and wonderful woman who learned from her mistakes and became a strong woman as well. I know this will be a book I read over and over.
The next book on my list is The Secret Confessions of Anne Shakespeare by Arliss Ryan.