Book 2, in the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy
This engrossing story opens in 1154 with Eleanor’s coronation and soon plunges us into a rollicking drama where a Queen struggles to achieve some element of equality with Henry, a man with trust issues and completely unable to delegate, in fact a very dangerous ruler she has as husband. “The Winter Crown” follows “The Summer Queen” and magnificently explores another tumultuous period in her life. The story focuses mainly when Eleanor was in her prime years and gave Henry child after child.
Even if this is a fiction the story has an authentic feel to it. It is a thrilling and breathtakingly credible version of personal tragedy. The portrayal of each character and the events surrounding them brings history to life with insight and emotional intensity and makes reading “The Winter Crown” a page-turning experience. Ms. Chadwick imaginative flair paints a rich, vivid story and brings vigour and life into a well-known Queen. The prose and dialogue are light and natural. The everyday life in the court of Henry is not boring, everyone had their use and everyone had a price. The conflicts are passionate and it is very easy to dislike Henry and his overbearing ways and sympathize with Eleanor. It is especially fascinating to see how she played an important role in the feud between her husband and their sons. We also have the drama surrounding Thomas Becket and Henry’s romantic affairs. The novel ends with a captive Eleanor sailing back to England and her destiny will be unveiled in the 3rd installment “The Autumn Throne”.
I appreciated the author’s note enforcing where the known part of history crosses the imaginary and where she enhanced her storyline in order to make this novel a treat for us.
This is a captivating read delivered by a master.