Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Novel

Ellen Jones, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-87279-3
Brisk, cogent and bristling with engaging characters, this sequel to The Fatal Crown follows the wily Eleanor of Aquitaine through 32 tumultuous years. Set between 1130 and 1162, Jones's new saga is pure romance, with a crusade to the Holy Land, civil war in England and devious political machinations used as colorful yet secondary background. Indulged, raised with pageantry and splendor, the fiery Eleanor becomes at age 15 heiress to the rich duchy of Aquitaine, and reluctantly marries Louis VII (``a huge, harmless rabbit''), the pallid, deeply pious French prince who ascends to the throne of France the day after the wedding. But the strong-minded Eleanor still has ideas of her own. (``If you do not care for the way things are, change them,'' counseled her equally independent grandmother.) After a divorce is granted because there is no heir to the throne, Eleanor marries the lusty Henry of Anjou, soon to become England's monarch, and the two give birth to a stormy yet fruitful dynasty that will bring prosperity to a land torn by civil war and rampant corruption. Some fascinating historical personages strut across the pages: the hostile Abbe Suger; Henry's formidable mother, Maud; Bellebelle, Henry's compliant mistress; and Thomas a Becket, the shrewd and ambitious chancellor who is about to become Archbishop of Canterbury. Loose ends deftly left untied point to yet another intriguing sequel. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
Ebook - 552 pages - 978-1-4532-8910-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-5113-9811-4
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