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I found this title in the coming soon to Audible area of the web site. It sounded terrific when I researched the series. Plus there was the added perk of many glowing reviews on Audible UK. Overall it seemed like a perfect fit for me. I have read numerous books about Eleanor of Aquitaine and her life and this sounded like a wonderful series to look forward to.
The trouble started with a minor irritation in that the author and narrator decided to use the historic pronunciation of Eleanor's name. I soon got use to the odd pronunciation but in a way it sounded overly prissy and unnecessary. To me the narration came across as very young and childish. I suggest a careful listen to the sample before buying the book.
The focus points the author chose to examine and stress in the story moved this book squarely into the Romance Genre for me -- without question. For example--when the old King of France died-- two lines are spent on this in the story explaining he had died, the travel to Paris AND that a rebellion was squelched on the way. Then paragraphs and even chapters are spent describing intimate details of the wedding night and other encounters of this kind.
Further, I just finished watching the cable program The White Queen and so much of the court life depicted here in this book could be lifted from that story. The nastiness, the disapproving hateful mother-in-law and the daily traumas and manipulations. More than all of this I found the book slow. Very slow. I could have used more fact, more history and a great deal less conjecture and imaginings. Can not recommend-- unless you love a good romance.
41 of 45 people found this review helpful
I rarely review audiobooks, only when I love them or hate them. I didn't love this book, and I didn't hate this book. I just found it, well, embarrassing.
On the one hand, I couldn't stop listening. The subject matter and the writer's easy prose worked well together. So well, I even listened to the second book. That's the embarrassing part.
On the other, the author clearly cannot handle (or imagine) the intricate politics of the time. Eleanor (Alienor), thus becomes a kind of Victorian heroine--flat, romantic, slightly boring. Her only flaws seem to be loving and feeling too much, which results in extricating her love/emotions in order to protect herself. Eleanor rarely behaves badly, and she comes across as a relatively normal, intelligent, person stuck in a world gone insane. There is NO WAY Eleanor was anything like that...she wouldn't have survived one night with someone like Henry for one night, much less more than 80 years.
Anyway, the resulting characterization is made all the more flat by the reader, who has a lovely voice but manages to make even the battles seem like dreamy walks in the park.
One review of this book called it a romance, and I think that's right. It's a glossy, idealized take on a historical figure. And not a particularly good one.
But it is HIGHLY listenable, and got me interested in the time period. So there's that.
11 of 12 people found this review helpful
I am a great fan of Elizabeth Chadwick's work and yet again she has produced another wonderful read, this book is beautifully written with perfect narration. I was sad to reach the
end of this book but know that it is not the end of Eleanor's story and so I await with eager anticipation for the next book in this trilogy where perhaps we will also see the appearance of the Greatest knight William Marshall !.
If you love Elizabeth's work then I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy this book, her research put together in a story such as this teaches us much about this period and gives us a sense of that time in history. Well done and thank you Elizabeth for sharing your talent with us, such a joy to listen to.
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Where does The Summer Queen rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
What did you like best about this story?
Ive tried twice to read about Elenor before and have given up. This summer I have been reading my way through all of Elizabeth Chadwicks novels. I love the way she weaves a story in to known facts. details of the small stuff such as the description of the jewels on clothing food and drink. The hazards of the traveling. All from a female point.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
The whole book was a joy from first to last.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
History made story. I enjoyed this book and having read non-fiction about Eleanor this was close to fact. The narrator captured the youth of the Duchess and carried the male voices well too. Thank you.
3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Loved it. Beautifully written and excellent audio reading. I look forward to the next two in the series.