The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry (Published by Henry Holt, June 8, 2010)
As the youngest daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her husband, King Henry II of England, Joan is forced from a very young age to be wise and observant beyond her years. Her parents have a troubled relationship, and Joan often feels torn between them, and worried about her older brothers, particularly Richard who is her favorite, as her parents often have arguments about their sons.
While still a young girl, Joan is married off to King William of Sicily, who is ten years older than her. The marriage is not a loving one, as William has little use for Joan except to try and produce an heir, which is not successful as they are unable to have a child. Although she does not find happiness in marriage, as Queen of Sicily Joan matures into a strong and capable young woman, even going on Crusade with her brother Richard after the death of her husband.
The Queen’s Daughter is a fascinating novel rich in historical detail. I love historical fiction about the Middle Ages and I love novels about real queens and princesses from history so this book combined two of my favorite topics in historical fiction. The Middle Ages is a time period often heavily romanticized in fiction, but as Joan’s story shows, wealthy women of that time were virtual prisoners, married off by their families for political or monetary gain. Since only the basic facts of Joan’s life are known, the author fills in the details, imagining Joan’s life starting when she is seven and ending when she is in her early thirties. This is a book that I would highly recommend to both teens and adults who love historical fiction, particularly those who enjoy stories about real queens and princesses from history.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher.