The Summer Queen : Eleanor of Aquitane

  • by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • Narrated by Katie Scarfe
  • Series: Eleanor of Aquitane
  • 18 hrs and 18 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Eleanor of Aquitaine's story deserves to be legendary. She is an icon who has fascinated readers for over 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive - until now. Based on the most up-to-date research, award-winning novelist Elizabeth Chadwick brings Eleanor's magnificent story to life, as never before, unveiling the real Eleanor. Young, golden-haired and blue-eyed Eleanor has everything to look forward to as the heiress to wealthy Aquitaine. But when her beloved father dies suddenly in the summer of 1137, her childhood is over.
Forced to marry the young prince Louis of France, she barely adjusts before another death catapults them to being crowned King and Queen of France. Leaving everything behind, Eleanor must face the complex and vivacious French court. She is only 13.Barely out of childhood, and forced to deal with great scandals, fraught relationships and forbidden love at every turn, Eleanor finally sees what her future could hold if she could just seize the moment. Overflowing with scandal, politics, sex, triumphs and tragedies, The Summer Queen is the first novel in a stunning new trilogy.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Romance Runs Strong in This One

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.

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- Sara

Slightly Embarrassing

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.
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- carie donnelson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-20-2013
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK