Friday, June 18, 2010

Book review: The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry

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.


Daphne said...

this one is on my wish list - I'm looking forward to reading it!

Gwendolyn B. said...

We hear so much about Eleanor and Henry's sons, it's great that here's a book about one of her daughters!

Gabrielle said...

Been on my want list for months!

brokenteepee said...

What a tough row to hoe for this young lady.
Imagine being thought of only as an alliance maker by your parents and a brood mare by your husband.

Audra said...

I love novels set in unusual (or at least, rarely written about) historical eras. This one sounds fascinating -- thank you for the review!

Jessy said...

Glad to see you enjoyed it. I will have to add this one to my TBR list.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Ooh, this sounds so good! i love YA historicals, they really give a different perspective.

Cristal said...

Thanks for the review! I really like historical fiction too! It is really interesting to learn about real life stories. I'll really need to read this :)

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