Read The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick Online


****09/1//21013 AT THIS TIME THERE IS NO KINDLE EDITION OR WORD WHEN.IF IT WILL BE RELEASED****Eleanor of Aquitaine is a 12th century icon who has fascinated readers for 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive.This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor be****09/1//21013 AT THIS TIME THERE IS NO KINDLE EDITION OR WORD WHEN.IF IT WILL BE RELEASED****Eleanor of Aquitaine is a 12th century icon who has fascinated readers for 800 years. But the real Eleanor remains elusive.This stunning novel introduces an Eleanor that all other writers have missed. Based on the most up-to-date research, it is the first novel to show Eleanor beginning her married life at 13. Barely out of childhood, this gives an entirely new slant to how Eleanor is treated bv those around her. She was often the victim and her first marriage was horribly abusive.Overflowing with scandal, passion, triumph and tragedy, Eleanor's legendary story begins when her beloved father dies in the summer of 1137, and she is made to marry the young prince Louis of France. A week after the marriage she becomes a queen and her life will change beyond recognition . . ....

Title : The Summer Queen
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 18102825
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 496 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Summer Queen Reviews

  • Paula Mildenhall
    2019-02-18 14:04

    I often ask myself what drives me to keep reading novels about figures I know so well. I have read numerous biographies on Eleanor of Aquitaine, I have read about her in novels and I have travelled to France and England to walk in her footsteps. I know all of the key points in her life, the known facts, yet I have an insatiable need to get further inside her head. Hence, I have been counting down the days until I could get my hands on The Summer Queen. I had already met Alienor (Eleanor) in Elizabeth’s books on William Marshal, so I had a rough idea of what she would be like. None of that could prepare me for meeting the young Alienor. Thirteen years old, orphaned, made a Duchess and then married to the future King of France. Then, within the year, she becomes the Queen of France. I was reaching for the tissues when I had barely begun the book. I often see the expressions, ‘fleshing out the history’ and ‘making it real’, and they more than apply here. I ‘felt’ so much for Alienor as she learned and adapted to her new position in life, her struggles, her victories, her joy and her sadness. The time and place is also brought vividly to life. You can feel the heaviness from her garments with voluminous sleeves, the tension in the brow from the coronet, you can taste the bread and honey and the exotic delicacies in Jerusalem. It was wonderfully comforting to get to know better the young self of this woman so often fictionalized, but the main aspect that made me keep turning the pages and burning the midnight oil? The things that I didn’t know about Alienor. I can’t really elaborate at all, so as not to give away spoilers, but I do know I will be talking privately about this to a great many people. Highly recommended reading for lovers of well researched, well written historical fiction.

  • Misfit
    2019-02-06 15:22

    The Summer Queen is the first in a planned trilogy based on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine (or Alienor as she is called here). After the glut of Eleanor novels a couple of years ago, this review is written with the assumption that most readers are familiar with Eleanor’s history. This review will discuss those known events freely and might be a bit spoilerish for those new to the period, so consider yourself warned. Arranged marriages can’t have been easy under the best of circumstances, but Louis and Alienor had so many things against them from the get-go: raised to the church until his older brother dies, having to take the throne earlier than expected upon his father’s death, political treachery and double dealing, and worst of all everyone waiting and watching for the heir that never arrives (it's all the woman's fault you know). And then something happens that completely changes Louis and he’s forever changed and more devoted to the church than before (and not in a good way)."What she saw now was a querulous man, old before his time, full of righteous anger, his guilt and self-loathing twisting within him, so that all the ills of the world became the sins of the nearest scapegoat."Damn, that return home was compelling stuff. And then we get to the crusade – quite an adventure just getting there, let alone what happened when Alienor wanted to cut ties there and take shelter with Uncle Raymond (no, not that – get your mind out of the gutter!). That Thierry was one nasty eunuch is all I’m saying…The latter part of the novel revolves around the failed marriage, obtaining the annulment, and of course this:"The Count of Anjou and his son are come to Paris to discuss the situation...”Can I say how much a loved the portrayal of Henry? I loved the way he entered the story, and tempted to quote, but it’s too much fun to see it for yourself at the proper moment. I loved his vitality and energy, and oh boy did I love it when he sent a letter to Louis announcing the birth of his first son. I loved the story; I loved the way the author wrote Alienor as a woman of her times instead of a thorough modern independent woman, or a slut in chase of anything in pants. As with all Chadwick novels, there’s also the added plus of being sucked into another century with the sights, smells and sounds that wrap up a darn-near perfect reading experience. I couldn’t put it down, and very sorry I’m going to have to wait for the next installment.Many thanks to Ms. Chadwick for an advance copy.

  • Erin
    2019-01-27 20:59

    Read in 2013. Reread in 2016.

  • MomToKippy
    2019-02-17 16:56

    It was quite an experience to read The Summer Queen as I had virtually no knowledge at all of the history of the royals of Europe during the middle ages. Yes I admit it. It is not a period that has attracted me much. So it was a bit of a challenge. It was a treat to see maps and family trees on the first pages of the book and a little intimidating. I studied these dutifully before reading as I feared there may be a quiz later. This was the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine (future Queen of France and Queen of England) in the early part of her life. It begins when she is a child of only thirteen. Alienor (as she is referred to) is a woman to be admired, revered, envied and respected. She was strong, intelligent, beautiful, wise and with amazing political insight even at a tender young age. I loved this portrayal of her. Alienor and her Falcon"Alienor's story is familiar to most of us medieval fiction lovers, but as always Chadwick tells it beautifully and with deft writing skill. She does not inundate us with endless facts and names, she simply draws us into Alienor's world from the time she was a child to the time she finally meets Henry, her second husband. It is a poignant tale as we ache for Alienor during her loveless marriage to the weak and overly pious King of France even though we know eventually she will break free. But Chadwick gives us the full story, the full measure of Alienor so that we live and breathe in Alienor's world unlike any other novel on the woman." (Burton Book Review)Palace of PoitiersThis is historical fiction done right. I have no criticism of Chadwick's work here. The only fault is my own in my lack of understanding of the history of the time period so it was a little difficult for me to follow at first. And so it took me about 200 pages to get into this. It seemed to take off once Alienor went off on the crusade and I was much more rapt with the story and was starting to be able to sort all the characters and their relationships to one another.The Second Crusade RouteEleanor of Aquitaine (1122 or 1124 – 1 April 1204) was one of the wealthiest and most powerful women in western Europe during the High Middle Ages and she was certainly one of the most interesting. The was a lively and colorful first introduction to the history of this great woman and somewhat unique in its protrayal of her early years. The author evidently did her homework as well. She even provides a bibliography at the end. I am tempted to try another of hers.

  • Rio (Lynne)
    2019-02-08 17:12

    Chadwick......we have high expectations and she never let's us down. I even ordered my copy from England because I couldn't wait for the US release. Finally a book on Alienor for grown ups. Alienor isn't a tramp, as so many popular historians and HF books like to make her out to be for entertainment's sake. I love Chadwick's portrayal of her and I thank Chadwick for not jumping on popular theories, but for actually doing her own research and using her unique Akashic method. Everything was from her own research including the description of Alienor's appearance. Now we have to wait for the next book in her series about this incredible woman's life.

  • Kate
    2019-02-24 17:14

    I have been longing to read The Summer Queen - the beginning to a trilogy dedicated to my favourite female figure of history written by one of the finest writers of historical fiction. As this wonderful novel proves, Eleanor is in safe hands. But it's not just Eleanor who comes alive here, her sister, Louis of France and the young Henry of Anjou and others all fill the pages with life and colour. A fabulous novel.

  • Rebecca Huston
    2019-01-30 19:58

    Yes, I know that I am a shameless EC fangirl. Every new release has me scanning the offerings from England, and when I see a new title, I swoop down on it like an owl on a field mouse. This time Ms. Chadwick tells the early story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most fascinating women in history, and does it very well indeed. Here, we see Eleanor's story from the earliest days of her marriage to Louis VIII. Instead of using stereotypes that most authors have done, here Alienor (as EC calls her) is still very much a young girl at the time of her wedding. While the early days still had optimism for her, we see that dream crumble as Louis is pulled to and fro by his advisors, especially religious ones, and the marriage starts to unravel. When Louis decides to go on Crusade to free Jerusalem, Alienor takes some drastic steps of her own...What can I say? I loved this book, and happily there are going to be two sequels -- The Autumn Crown and The Winter Throne. I don't want to reveal anything more, because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I will say that there are plenty of fresh views, and the research is spot on. Five stars overall, and very happily recommended. For the longer review, please go here:

  • Samantha
    2019-02-12 16:18

    My standards might have been too high for this one to meet. I cannot read the story of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine without having Sharon Kay Penman's novels in the back of my mind. Chadwick's version has a different focus, so far, looking at Eleanor as a young girl and Queen of France, so that was a point in its favor.While a time of anarchy reigned in England, Eleanor was a pampered heiress of the southern duchy of Aquitaine. Her father arranged what should have been a glorious match with Louis, future king of France. Unfortunately, things did not go quite as planned.Chadwick tends to be a little too focused on romance for my taste, and this was no exception. I managed to get through the sex scenes featuring teenaged Eleanor and Louis, but the steamy scenes between the (was she even teenaged?) Petronella and her senior citizen lover were a little stomach turning. Poor Petra is continuously overshadowed by her more glamorous older sister and repeatedly compared to their grandmother, Dangereuse, who is frequently mentioned though she never appears. I was happy to get to the portion of the story where Eleanor and Louis went on Crusade, and it was more enjoyable. The descriptions of the court at Constantinople and Antioch immerse the reader in the sights, sounds, and tastes of the medieval world. The relationship between Eleanor and her uncle Raymond was well done.Louis and Eleanor's relationship deteriorates with him turning to his advisers and the church and she losing patience with him. At times, Eleanor appears to be exactly the manipulative woman that Louis's mother was afraid she was, but her plans fall apart time and time again, including her initial attempt to rid herself of Louis.I was excited for the story to begin including Henry, well, because he's Henry. However, he was almost too practically perfect in every way compared to all of Louis's faults. His entrance to the story also, unfortunately, included many more bedroom scenes. During these scenes we are repeatedly reminded that it is only lust between them as they hardly know each other, and Eleanor has an odd habit of bringing up her scandalous grandparents while in bed. Instead of enjoying this part of the story, I found myself beginning to skim just to get to the end.I already have The Winter Crown which begins with Henry becoming Henry II, so I will continue to follow Eleanor to England and the challenges her second marriage will bring.

  • Orsolya
    2019-02-12 19:12

    Eleanor of Aquitaine was without a doubt a strong, enigmatic, remarkable woman in history. First being a Queen of France and then a Queen of England; most novels mainly highlight her time in England whereas her time in France is bypassed. Elizabeth Chadwick begins her Eleanor trilogy detailing the early days in France with Louis VII in, “The Summer Queen”. Chadwick chronicles the younger days of Eleanor (herein called Alienor as done in the novel) in “The Summer Queen” drawing readers into a period of time in Alienor’s life which usually isn’t a focal point. Chadwick pens a detailed and illustrative story with rich language and historical accuracy avoiding too much fluff. The pace is steady and moves forward with a strong beat. The main highlight of “The Summer Queen” which instantly sticks out is Chadwick’s wonderful characterization and development of Alienor. Alienor truly grows as the novel progresses and each page/event is an added brick in the foundation of the strong woman she will become making her a believable and relatable figure which encourages the reader to want to know what happens to her. Each character is “The Summer Queen” has a distinct and solid voice. On the negative front, “The Summer Queen” suffers from some choppiness resulting in short chapters and breaks in chronological timelines. This takes away slightly from the story and breaks reader attention. Yet, it can be argued that this adds to showing how and why Alienor grew into who she was based on events in her life.For those readers not a fan of sexual contexts, “The Summer Queen” does contain a bit too much of it for my personal taste. These are not overly detailed or distasteful but even though I understand the inclusion as it also shaped Alienor as a person; it can be a bit frequent at points. Chadwick’s language is absolutely beautiful both in regards to language/prose and literary descriptions making “The Summer Queen” a strong novel. “The Summer Queen” is absolutely magnificent with its storytelling of Alienor and Louis’s crusade. The ingredients of history, fast pace, literary language, and dialogue create a perfect recipe that is riveting and a must-read. Chadwick’s writing at this point is indeed historical fiction as its best, coming alive off the pages. The introduction of Henry (Duke of Normandy, future King of England) is skillfully done and is character-driven therefore not being too predictable even for those familiar with the history. In this way, Chadwick sets up the next novel but maintains the pace in “The Summer Queen”. Also encouraging is Chadwick’s portrayal of Alienor and Henry coming together for political reasons (but also having sexual chemistry) whereas other authors tend to impart this merely on lust. The conclusion of “The Summer Queen” is emotional enough that the reader derives some satisfaction while also setting the plot for the “The Winter Crown”. Therefore, don’t expect a pure straight-line ending as the story is followed up in the next novel. Chadwick offers an enlightening ‘Author’s Note’ which addresses points in the novel, her research, and the history while also sharing a bibliography to encourage further reading. “The Summer Queen” is a well-written, strong, not-as-fluffy HF novel (although with many sex references) that brings Alienor to life in a believable way. Although the novel is not perfect and has some flaws; it is a riveting read for those interested in Eleanor (Alienor) of Aquitaine.

  • Lizzy
    2019-01-26 19:56

    “All that remained were poignant memories, and she must face reality, not live on dreams.” The figure of Eleanor (or Alienor, as EC calls her here by her French name) was not new to me. I had already met her in theElizabeth Chadwick’s superb William Marshal series, but that was an older version of Alienor ofThe Summer Queen. Here she begins as a young thirteen year old girl, is orphaned, made Duchess and marries Louis VI and so becomes Queen of France. In the last third of the book, after a torturous union and an annulment, Alienor marries for the second time to Henry Plantagenet, becoming Queen of England. We get to see her early days of optimism and as those dreams crumble when Louis is pulled back and forth by advisors, mainly religious ones, and their marriage starts to dismantle. At the same time we see as she faces barriers and challenges and starts to grow as a woman and as in authority.The Summer Queen was not my favorite of Elizabeth Chadwick novels, I felt that some passages had so many details and went on about events that for sure were significant but make the book, at least for me, a slow and arduous read at times. Maybe I would have enjoyed more if there were less, so that I could get to the Alienor that I want to read about, the older Queen of England. But that is not a problem of the writing, probably just my own desires and expectations that denied me better enjoyment. Nevertheless, here we start to see the roots of her fierce and unrelenting character of later years, as she plots and consolidates her power that may have prevented any real happiness as that was a not the best time for women. I know more will be forthcoming in the next two volumes of Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, starting withThe Winter Crown, with territory that is more familiar and of more alluring to me.Despite the misgivings pointed above, I enjoyed it overall as my rating shows. Maybe the problem is that with the authors we most appreciate, our demands rises in equal measure. So, I recommend it for fans of historical fiction and medieval enthusiasts in general.

  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    2019-02-21 19:00

    Eleanor, or Alienor as Chadwick refers to her, is just 13 years old at the time and is paired off in an arranged marriage to Louis, the French prince. This arranged marriage is essential to the future of Aquitaine as her father is gravelly ill. At first, Louis seems to be a good fit for her, but as the years go by, she realizes that behind closed doors, he is a different person. When she doesn't' provide an heir for him things become even worse as he feels it's a reflection of himself as well as God not blessing their marriage. Worst off, he blames Alienor and treats her horribly. Alienor has wanted an annulment for sometime now and desperately wants to be free from him. Once she is, she realizes quickly that she is the most sought out "marriage prize" in the world and this brings its own challenges. That is until Henry, the future leader of England, is interested in her and this changes everything as he is a more fitting match for her. Elizabeth Chadwick's first novel in the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, The Summer Queen, is an interesting glimpse into medieval life and the extraordinary life of a powerful queen.Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...

  • Luthien
    2019-01-24 20:01

    Also published on Luthien Reviews.At the beginning of The Summer Queen, we meet thirteen-year-old Alienor, the eldest daughter and heir of William X, Duke of Aquitaine, on the eve of her father’s pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. When the sickly duke dies on the pilgrimage road, Alienor becomes the new duchess. She soon learns that she must marry the dauphin of France, Prince Louis, in order to keep her peace among vassals. She does so reluctantly and, though Louis is handsome and kind, she remains unhappy, unsatisfied, and restless.That’s the gist of the book—what I read of it, anyway. (Full disclosure: I gave up on page 148.) Alienor, better known to history as Eleanor, is perpetually unhappy. She doesn’t want her father to die! She doesn’twant to marry Louis!Well, chica, sometimes you don’t always get what you want, especially when you inherit of the wealthiest and most influential duchies in medieval Europe.I was unsure about this novel, but checked it out because of its high Goodreads rating. Boy, was I misled.For all its hype and raving reviews, this book would be better titled How To Write Terrible Historical Fiction. Let’s take a look.1. Begin your novel near an important milestone in your main character’s life. Instead of opening with a bang, drag readers along for ten to twenty pages and make the upcoming “dramatic” (and historical) event as dull as possible by dropping obvious hints along the way.2. Try to include virtually all events from the historical record, even if you plan on devoting only a few paragraphs to some of said events. After all, why should you be bothered with wiring a novel with a plot? In fact…3. Chop your novel into as many tiny episodes as possible in order to guarantee that readers are invested in none of them. Feel free to skip months or years without warning if you feel nothing sufficiently interesting happened during that time.4. Replace your historical hero(ine) with a “relatable” modern counterpart, even if doing so makes them deeply unlikeable. Anachronisms are okay! Instead of portraying your young heroine as vulnerable but full of potential greatness, make her an entitled, selfish bitch. Was she famously intelligent, ambitious, and cunning? Well, you know how teenagers are—just be sure that she’s as narcissistic and self-centered as possible!5. When it comes to interpersonal relationships, tell, don’t show. Even if you want a scene to tug at readers’ heartstrings, just tell them the character feels sad—or happy, or angry, etc. Don’t provide enough interaction between characters to let readers to understand why they feel a certain way about another character. After all, the author knows best!6. Force a conflict. When clashing personalities aren’t enough to explain an unhappy marriage, resort to changing the personality of one or both parties to maximize their misery, even when it conflicts with all your research and insults the figure(s) in question. Also, make sure that your hero(ine) is the victim at all times.7. Include as much sex as possible. Is this historical fiction or a historical porno? Does it really matter? Your heroine may have been young when she got married, but you want to put as many bedroom scenes as you can—and you want to make them one-sided and sometimes violent (see #6)!8. Make sure your book reads more like a textbook than a novel. You want your readers’ eyelids to droop as they slog through your dry prose, so make sure to include minute historical details in an effort to show how “authentic” your writing (and to show off all that research you did). Also see #2.9. When your hero(ine)’s story gets boring, don’t just press fast-forward. You can also switch to the point-of-view of a previously minor character. Instead of being consistent with this tactic in order to add depth to your novel, make sure these POV jumps are totally random and provide readers with little, if any, insight into the other characters.10.Last, but most important of all, use completely bogus research methods to “back up” your actual research. Frustrated with sparse sources? Well, you’re a novelist, by George, so you’ll just fill in the gaps with your imagination, but instead of being honest about it, say you used some New Agey, metaphysical nonsense called the Akashic Records. That way, when attentive readers snark about insulting misrepresentations inaccuracies in your novel, you can claim that you have the ability to “see, feel, hear, and touch everything that has gone before,” and that you even know what your characters must have been thinking (and what their sex lives were like, probably)—therefore, you’re obviously right, despite those dusty old written sources. Some less historically-inclined readers will find it romantic, and people with functioning brains will run so far away that you won’t have to worry about their opinions! It’s a win-win!Honestly, I guess I should be grateful—at least Ms. Chadwick admits to using this goofy “research.” Some authors (cough cough, Philippa Gregory) just claim to write straight-up, accurate history. So I suppose her ridiculous claims about the “Akashic Records” could be worse. Still, it’s pretty embarrassing to pretend—whatever your religious/spiritual belief system—that such “records” are in any way legitimate. I’ve only got some issues with well-researched fiction that slanders takes liberties with people who actually existed.But when you claim to have access to what those people actually felt and thought, then you’re spitting in the faces of not only the figures you’re writing about, but also of your readers. (As I read it: “nyeh, nyeh, I can access what everyone who ever lived ever thought/saw/felt/ and you can’t!” I guess Shakespeare used these “records” to twist Richard III into a hunchbacked, murderous psychopath with a withered arm. 100% accurate, right?)Okay, obviously I have more problems with The Summer Queen than Ms. Chadwick’s liberal use of her imagination these kooky “records.” However, I have to assume that her (apparent) belief in their validity laid the foundation for a lot of those problems.Her writing isn’t bad, it’s just a bit dull. I did feel like I was slogging through rather than enjoying myself. I would say that a reader can skim Chadwick’s prose and miss nothing, but the individual scenes are so short and disconnected that that’s not exactly true. Blink, and you’ll suddenly have been transported two years into the future. On top of all that, the prose just felt rather dry and disjointed, and a bit…heavy? (PSA: Not all nouns need adjectives.)For example…In the stultifying heat of July the arrangements for the arrival of the French bridegroom and his army continued apace… From cellar to turret, Bordeaux prepared for Louis’ arrival. Hostels were swept out and decorated with banners and garlands. Cartloads of supplies rolled into the city from the surrounding countryside, together with herds and flocks for the slaughter. Seamstresses toiled over yards of pale gold cloth of scarlet, sewing a wedding gown fit for their new duchess and future queen of France. The train was hemmed with hundreds of pearls and the sleeves swept from wrist to ankle with decorative golden hooks to loop them back should they get in the way....[H]er women robed her in a gown of ivory damask, the gold laces pulled tight to emphasize her slender waist. A jeweled cap covered the top of her head, but her burnished hair remained exposed, the thick strands woven with metallic ribbons. Her nails were pink with madder stain and had been buffed until they gleamed……The pale canvases of the ordinary troops marked the French periphery, while the center blazed with the bright silks and golden finials of the high nobility and the Church. She fixed he eyes on the largest pavilion of them all: lapis blue and powdered gold with the red oriflamme banner fluttering in the hot breeze outside its open flaps… All along the riverbank, small boats and barges plied their trade, rowing supplies of food and drink to the host on the far bank. ... Banners decorated the lead barge, which was draped with a canvas awning to shade its occupants from the sun…Pretty? Sure. But almost nothing happens for two pages. Just tons of purple prose.Chadwick did do real research, and it shows—perhaps it shows a bit too much, in fact—but the biggest issue is that Alienor, the protagonist, does not seem to live in her own world. As happens far, far too often in historical fiction, Alienor feels like a modern heroine inhabiting a rather musty, backwards world that isn’t prepared for her forward-thinking ways. While I believe that some of Eleanor’s attitudes may have been “ahead” of her time, I also very much believe that she was a product of her time. Unfortunately, twelfth-century Eleanor never showed her face in this novel.I don’t labor under the delusion that Eleanor was any kind of saint. Maybe she was unfaithful to Louis (though how would we know, beyond nine-hundred-year-old rumors?). Maybe she was a bit of, well, a bitch. Maybe she was a lot of things. We just don’t know. I also understand that historical fiction is not strictly confined by what was recorded. That said, when you’re writing about someone so famous, you have to be careful—and above all, be respectful.Making Eleanor of Aquitaine, one of the most beautiful, learned, wealthy, powerful women of the Middle Ages a petulant, immature, self-interested child is not the way to go. I didn’t understand how the character Chadwick created could ever become the great queen of history, and I wasn’t willing to put up with Alienor for 500+ pages to find out.Honestly, here are just a few examples of her childishness; instead of sympathizing with her youth, I found myself wondering how a girl who had been raised as the heir to a huge duchy could grow up into this.“Daughter, did you not hear me? You will be a great queen.”“But no one has asked me. It has all been decided behind my back.” Her throat tightened. “What if I do not choose to marry Louis of France? What if I…what if I want to marry someone else?”Grow up, Alienor.She also knew that [Louis’] father was called Louis the Fat and her vision kept filling with the sickening image of an overweight pasty youth.Sickening? Really? He might be...chubby! (gasp) The horror, the horror! Alienor, he’s close to your age, he’s well-educated, and he’s a crown prince. Take what you can fucking get, and consider yourself lucky.She felt as if she were being tied into this marriage and even helpingher captors secure the knots [by participating in the wedding ceremony]…You are. It’s a wedding. Jesus.Louis’ mother, the Queen Dowager, sums it up quite nicely (and of couse she’s supposed to an antagonist):“And how can you be Queen of France and a fitting consort for my son when you behave like a silly, frivolous girl?”Queen Adelaide FTW!I did mention selfish, right?“What would my future have been had [my mother and brother] lived?”“I learned not to think that way after I lost [my wife] Burgondie and the child in her womb,” he said. “It does no god. Al you can do is live each day in their honor.”Her throat tightened and ached. He had missed the point, perhaps deliberately so. Had her brother not died, she would not have had to marry Louis … It made allthe difference.Such sympathy. Much kindness. Charming girl, that Alienor!The way Chadwick handled Louis—transforming him from a pious, loving, slightly naïve and introverted young man into a temperamental, power-hungry man unhealthily obsessed with (and dependent on) God, getting his own way, and controlling the wife he claims to love—was flat-out unacceptable. In fact, her decision to portray Louis as little more than a rapist (numerous times) was, ultimately, what made me abandon the book—I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was absurd. By all accounts, Louis cared for Eleanor, and while I’m no expert in medieval French history, he was also a decent king. In other words, he was hardly a moody boy who used his wife’s body to regulate his overwhelming emotions.Not to harp on this too much, but it’s just so hard to believe that Ms. Chadwick did all the research, then turned Louis into…this:…Louis took [Alienor] with all the vigor his fury lent him, uncaring that he hurt her, expending his temper on her body as if it were all her fault.Seriously? I’m insulted for Louis’ sake. Hell, I’m insulted for Eleanor’s. Does anyone honestly believe that a woman like Eleanor of Aquitaine would spend fifteen years in this kind of marriage? She was obviously capable of ending it, against Louis’ wishes, when she finally wanted to. (This was also the passage that sealed the deal for me. I did not read further.)Perhaps Ms. Chadwick felt the need to explain away or justify the ultimate failure of Louis and Eleanor’s marriage, but what explanation is needed beyond their sharply contrasting personalities and the fact that, even after fifteen years of marriage, Eleanor had not produced a son? Or does Chadwick consider her flawless Queen Alienor incapable of breaking a man’s heart that way? Does she think it would make her less sympathetic?On that note, the teenage Alienor at one point lusts after Geoffrey of Anjou—which is extremely unnerving when you remember that Geoffrey is the father of her future husband, Henry II.His gaze was predatory and amused. She tried not to show how much his direct stare perturbed her. … Alienor felt as if Geoffrey of Anjou had stripped her to her chemise in front of everyone, even though their exchange had been one of social formality. She was intensely aware of him in the room… … Even the thought of Geoffrey made her feel restless and hot. … All that charisma, virility, and danger. What would it be like to master a beast like that—to ride it?Her future father-in-law, ladies and gentlemen.Chadwick even refers to one of the male characters as a “sexual predator” because he has had many lovers. Really? A sexual predator? It’s the twelfth century, please write like it!And at one point, Louis actually says that “he needed to put his wife in her place.” With sex. And Alienor “responded willingly…because she had gotten him to do her will.”Remind me again why readers are supposed to care about either of these wretched people?I’m sorry for how long this review has gone on, especially since it’s technically only a review up to page 148. In short: despite all the hype and the gushing reviews all over the internet, The Summer Queen is neither a particularly good work of historical fiction, nor a particularly good novel. It features insufferable, nearly-flat characters who bear little resemblance to their historical counterparts and most of whose motivations boil down to lust; unnecessarily flowery language jarringly paired with a short, choppy structure; and very little action.I’m giving it two stars only because she did put effort into her research—even if she paired it with her bogus “records.”Eleanor of Aquitaine is a perennial favorite. She is legendary: a beautiful, wealthy duchess in her own right, a two-time queen consort, and the mother of two more kings besides. As such, there are dozens of novels which focus on her floating around. I have little doubt that at least some of them do her more justice than The Summer Queen. In fact, I plan on checking out the much-lauded Sharon Kay Penman’s trilogy about Eleanor and Henry II.I have no intentions of having anything more to do with this trilogy, and it still baffles me that so many people do. I pushed myself to page 148 because I adore Eleanor.Sadly, I stopped reading for the same reason.

  • Althea Ann
    2019-02-02 19:53

    A historical novel of Eleanor (or, more accurately, Alienor) of Aquitaine. The book covers around a 20-year period: from Alienor's girlhood, through her marriage to Louis VI, the annulment of that marriage, and her second marriage, to Henry Plantagenet.The events presented seem to follow upon known history pretty well, with no more than the expected amount of embellishment for a historical novel. It did turn me off, however, that in the Afterword, rather than simply stating which events were known and which were added for dramatic effect, the author credits 'Akashic research.' Uh, no. That's called "imagination." I have no problem with using your imagination when writing historical fiction, but there's quite a lot of woo-woo on her website where she talks about this. What she describes is creative visualization - but she seems to think she's having 'true visions of the past.' Hmm.That aside, the book itself is free of woo. It's not bad; you can definitely learn some history from this. I actually felt that it might have erred a bit too much on the side of 'getting in all the facts' rather than creating a dramatic plot. It's written in short chapters illustrating significant events and turning points throughout the 20 years; and the transitions can be quite abrupt, giving the book as a whole a very choppy feel. Also, although much is made of Alienor's conviction that she is born to power and educated to rule in her own right, there's also a great deal of time devoted to her unhappy marriage, failure to bear Louis an heir, and a lot of bad sex. Although this focus may very well be wholly accurate, I wanted more of her plotting and consolidating her power. There's some of that - but I'm guessing that more will be forthcoming in the two more planned books in this fictionalized biography. (It ends a bit abruptly, with a 'more to come' note...)Recommended for fans of historical fiction about women of the Middle Ages, and medieval enthusiasts in general.Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC. As always, my opinions are my own.

  • Lori
    2019-01-27 18:01

    Eleanor of Aquitaine comes to brilliant life in Elizabeth Chadwicki's amazing writing!!! I was thrilled when I learned that she was writing a triilogy of Eleanor & Henry... this first book gives us the story of Eleanors early years which I didn't know much about! I not only recommend this book... but any book you are lucky to come across by Elizabeth Chadwick!!!

  • Laura
    2019-01-30 18:54

    I received this book as a digital ARC from the publisher through Net Galley in return for an honest review.This is the first book of the trilogy on the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine written by Elizabeth Chadwick.This is a historical fiction book and there are many books written on this subject. Most of them are not truly historical but historical romance instead. The only book worth to be mentioned here is When Christ and His Saints Slept, also the first book of the Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine series written by Sharon Kay Penman. Another book shroud be also mentioned, The Book of Eleanor: A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Pamela Kaufman.Eleanor’s life is already very well-known, specially the historical novel fans. This book covers the first and the beginning of the second marriages of Alienor (the author makes uses of the true French name). The author also describes her journey in the Second Crusade, following the request of Louis VI.Eleanor of Aquitaine enters Constantinople, 1147 A.D.Illustration from Women Warlords, Tim Newark, Blandford Press, UK, 1989.Since this is not the first book neither the last book based on the life of this historical character, what difference does this book makes compared to others? First al all, I liked the description of the relationship between Eleanor and her sister Petronella, not so well described elsewhere. And the mysterious and apparent love affair with Geoffrey V, Count of Anjou was also described by the author in some way.Other books to be checked, some of them are biographies of Eleanor of Aquitaine:Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings by Amy Kelly.Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Life by Alison Weir.Eleanor: April Queen Of Aquitaine by Douglas Boyd.The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland.A magnificent movie was made based on the Broadway play by James Goldman, The Lion in Winter (1968) with Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, John Castle, Anthony Hopkins as Richard the Lionheart .

  • Erin
    2019-02-15 18:56

    Elizabeth Chadwick tells the story of Aelinor of Aquitaine, her marriage to Louis of France and her whirlwind courtship with Henry of Anjou. Chadwick 's Aelinor is stubborn, well versed in royal politics, and beautiful. But there was something in the way she and her sister were portrayed that seemed reminiscent of the volatile relationship between the English princesses, Elizabeth and Margaret. I guess royal sisters in any generation will have their ups and downs. Aelinor and Louis' relationship is portrayed as very passionate in the beginning, with his religious fervor only becoming more apparent later on. I found this a change from other books on Aelinor (that for the life of me the titles escape me) and do give the reader a very visual showing of when exactly the relationship changed in the couple. My 3 stars stem from my wariness on whether or not, Aelinor is too modern in the way she is portrayed. Anyway, moment I felt that she was going to jet off on a "Eat, Pray, Love" journey. As well, people are portrayed as either liking her or hating her- no in betweens. I guess it all seems too perfect for me. Overall, it was a decent telling of the Queen that has fascinated generations of history fans.

  • Shomeret
    2019-02-16 17:05

    My main motivation for wanting to read The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick was my interest in reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine on crusade in fiction. . One reason why I gave a pass to Christy English’s novel about the early life of Eleanor of Aquitaine, To Be Queen, is that I read a review on Goodreads which stated that English’s novel glossed over the crusade. I am glad I chose Chadwick instead. I downloaded The Summer Queen from Net Galley, and this is my review.The first thing I noticed when I began to read The Summer Queen demonstrated her interest in accuracy. Chadwick used the medieval spelling of her central character’s name, Alienor. I hope readers will forgive me if I continue to use the familiar modern spelling in this review. By the time I finished The Summer Queen I realized that character development in this book had been well-handled .Eleanor’s first husband, Louis of France, could easily have been portrayed as a stereotype of medieval piety. Chadwick gives him more depth by showing us the incidents that motivated him. Louis is by no means admirable, but his attitudes are understandable given his history.I hadn’t expected to like the young Henry of Anjou who would later become Henry II King of England, because I knew that he would later mistreat Eleanor. Despite this foreknowledge, he managed to charm me as a reader while he was doing his best to captivate Eleanor.The next two volumes of Chadwick’s trilogy deal with territory that is more familiar to me, but I confess to wanting to experience Eleanor’s novelistic perspective on Becket’s murder in the cathedral. So perhaps I will be visiting with Chadwick’s version of Eleanor in the future.For my complete review see

  • Jemidar
    2019-01-31 18:20

    Won as a giveaway over on Elizabeth Chadwick's blog. Thanks Elizabeth!Now we'll find out what the Akashic Records have to say about Eleanor and her Uncle Raymond ;-).

  • Sheree
    2019-02-08 17:57

    I never tire of reading of Eleanor of Aquitaine's life, she's such a resilient, intelligent, determined, influential woman in medieval history. The Summer Queen is the first in a planned trilogy dedicated to the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Elizabeth Chadwick tells her story with extensive research, integrity and yes, imagination, whilst deftly remaining within the realms of historical likelihood. I particularly liked that EC refers to the anglicised Eleanor as Aliénor, as she referred to herself. Confession ... I've purchased all of Elizabeth Chadwick's novels and regularly congratulate myself on my good taste and of course how pretty they look on the bookshelf HA. Anyway I thought I should read a few more rather than just admire the covers (in my defense I have read 6 or 7) so, I ... *mumble* purchased the audiobook. What a treat ... The Summer Queen is brilliantly narrated by Katie Scarf ... 18+ hours flew. Spanning Aliénor's life from 1137 - 1154 - Duchess of Aquitaine, marriage to Louis VII, the weak and pious future King of France and concluding with her second marriage to Henry II of England. The Summer Queen is so much more than a recounting of well known historical events ... Chadwick draws you in with finesse making Aliénor entirely accessible, I loved being immersed in her life. I loved Chadwick's take on Geoffrey de Rancon's significance to Aliénor and I even enjoyed learning more about Aliénor's spoilt and unlikable sister Petronella. Evocative, expressive, exquisite detail rather than tedious minutiae, The Summer Queen encompasses all that I love in historical fiction, I can't recommend it highly enough. I seriously didn't want the story to end, lucky for me there's more to come and I'm super excited. The Winter Crown, due for release September 2014 continues the story of Eleanor's marriage with King Henry II and her life as Queen of England. The Autumn Throne concludes the trilogy.

  • Serenity
    2019-02-14 18:53

    This story of Eleanor of Aquitaine takes place in 12th Century Europe. It begins with Eleanor and her sister Petronella, who are carefree girls until their father's death in 1137 thus it then ends young Eleanor's childhood. Keeping an eye on her sister and Aquitanie, Eleanor is then wed to the young Prince Louis of France and thrust into the role of Queen at only age 13. As her husband grapples with his role as a ruler and his devotion to God, young Eleanor is then left to face the emotional and physcial demands of a ruthless court, and then going on a Crusade with Louis. It's not long that Eleanor's marriage to Louis crumbles in a scandalous divorce..and Henry of Anjou waits in the wings.I have always enjoyed Elizabeth Chadwick's books, and this one added another dimension to Eleanor of Aquitaine's inspiring story. And again the author never fails with richly detailed historical events and personages to her book, and this tale of a magnificent woman of her time was realistic, emotional, vibrant, exciting and down right unputdownable! I also really liked how the author added Eleanor's sister Petronella to the story as well. Highly recommend this author and all her books!I have heard this is to be a trilogly...please may the next one with Henry of Anjou waiting in the wings be soon!

  • Krista Baetiong Tungol
    2019-02-14 21:09

    One of the endearing things about reading an Elizabeth Chadwick work is the way this author can do justice to her characterization and make me love, admire and even fangirl over her protagonists at times. I have to say that I didn’t quite like Alienor (Eleanor of Aquitaine) at first despite having previously read so many positive things about her strong character and illustrious accomplishments as a queen and a woman of her time, but after this read I’ve finally come to appreciate her incomparable life story and contributions to medieval society. It is not so easy to live in her time and fight her way through the “world of men”, but she had done so capably, gracefully, and with a who-run-the-world flourish. This is one historical fiction book worth reading. :)

  • Folliesgirl14
    2019-01-26 15:53

    This WAS freaking amazing. Forget the Eleanor you thought you knew, because this Alienor will give you a whole new perspective on the woman and her times! Now, I wait for book 2...

  • Sarah u
    2019-02-16 21:19

    It took almost a month, but I finally wrote a review!The Summer Queen is the long-awaited first instalment of Elizabeth Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, and was released this summer in the U.K. in hardback and kindle format. I pre-ordered my kindle copy and was very much looking forward to reading- earlier this year I read and thoroughly enjoyed my first Elizabeth Chadwick novel, The Lady of the English, so I couldn’t wait to see what this story had to offer.The book begins with a note for the reader. In this story, Eleanor is named Alienor- the name she used for herself and which is used in many of the contemporary documents about her. A lovely touch. The novel then opens with Alienor as a girl on the verge of becoming a woman. Her marriage to the King of France is imminent, her sick father is leaving to go on pilgrimage and her whole life is about to change. We follow Alienor as she becomes a duchess, a wife, a queen, a mother, a crusader, a divorcee and a wife again. We see the highs and feel the lows, and watch Alienor grow into the strong, capable Queen of England and Duchess of Aquitaine we all know.Alienor is brought to life spectacularly, as are the people around her; Petronella, her younger sister, was an amazing character in this novel- as I suspect she was in her time! Her growth from girl to woman was captivating. We watch King Louis grow and change too as he ages and falls increasingly under the influence of the church and a rather nasty Templar knight. The French royal marriage begins to crack under the strain of this and Louis’ frustration with Alienor for her personality and her inability to give him a son. Then there’s Raoul of Vermandois, King Louis’ cousin… Henry of Anjou, later King Henry II of England and ruler of the Angevin Empire, enters the novel in an unforgettable scene in the last quarter, and oh boy does he shake things up!What I loved about this novel, and I have felt this way about all of Elizabeth’s novels that I have read, is that she does not pander to stereotypes or write scandal for the sake of it. The historical Eleanor is defamed beyond belief- a whore chasing anything in trousers, a woman who committed incest with her uncle, a woman who was ‘ahead of her time’, and so on. Elizabeth’s Alienor is none of these things. She is treated fairly, as a woman of her own time, written in a believable way. Elizabeth does not go for scandal because she does not need to- the writing in this novel makes that very clear. Her scene setting is lovely, her character development top notch, and the book is a compulsive page turner. I couldn’t put it down, and a quick look through goodreads shows me that I am not alone.I am a huge lover of the medieval period and there is, I think, something to be admired in all of England’s medieval queens; none of them wholly fit the stereotype of soft, gentle, obedient or boring. Alienor is no exception, and this novel is a credit to her and her life. I am eagerly awaiting the next in the series, which is titled The Winter Crown.

  • Karla
    2019-02-21 15:56

    Seeing 2 updates for this made me curious about Chadwick's stylistic quirk of using "as if" - 56 instances in the first 232 pages (where Amazon's Look Inside stops). Interesting, if a bit repetitious. :P

  • Alexandra
    2019-02-03 18:06

    5/15/15 Kindle Daily Deal $1.99.

  • Marg
    2019-02-09 19:04

    I'll start by saying that Elizabeth Chadwick is one of my favourite authors. Despite that, this book took me the best part of 4 and a half years to read. I started reading the book, and then 6 months ago I started again listening to the audio and today I finished it (Hoorah!). Curse you reading slump.Another really good book from EC, and I am definitely going to read the next one. At some point. Maybe this year. Maybe not.

  • Nancy Ellis
    2019-02-02 16:59

    This amazing author knows how to transport you back in time. All of her books are excellent, but she has outdone herself with this first book of the trilogy about Eleanor of Aquitaine. Granted, Eleanor's story is incredibly exciting and romantic by itself, but Elizabeth Chadwick has such an understanding of her, it's as if she had lived the life herself. If you love historical fiction, you will not want to miss this book.

  • Molly
    2019-02-10 21:15

    Não é o primeiro livro que leio sobre Leonor de Aquitânia, mas é sempre com grande gosto que viajo pela sua história. Leonor foi, sem dúvida, uma rainha extraordinária e diferente das rainhas da altura: muito mais avançada, interessante e visionária. E isso faz com que goste bastante de ler sobre a sua história. Este livro está maravilhoso. Gostei muito da forma como a autora contextualizou toda a época, desde as personagens, passando pelo espaço, e indo principalmente aos costumes e tradições. Em relação às personagens, gostei muito de Leonor, como seria de esperar. Uma menina nascida para ser duquesa de Aquitânia que se aos 13 anos prometida ao rei de França, D. Luís, que toda a vida tinha estudado para servir a Igreja. Depois de um casamento magnifico e de muito lhe ser prometido, Leonor, à medida que cresce, vai amadurecendo e percebendo toda a trama que a rodeia, vendo-se obrigada a jogar com tudo o que tem. Num mundo de homens, ser mulher não é fácil, pois mesmo com todo o poder que tem, outras coisas se elevam e os homens tentam-se aproveitar do facto de ela ser mulher e de ter uma grande riqueza. O modo como ela faz frente a tudo isso é um hino à bravura feminina, à coragem e à paixão pelo respeito e pela honra. Também gostei das outras personagens, uma vez que estão todas muito bem trabalhadas e criadas. D. Luís mostrou-se, mais uma vez, num homem mesquinho e frio, que poderia ter sido diferente se não fosse tão reprimido e subjugado por personalidades mais fortes. Mas foi D. Henrique que muito me agradou. Jovem, honrado e corajoso...o par ideal para Leonor. Todas as personagens estão excelentes e povoam brilhantemente esta história, cujo contexto está maravilhoso. Detalhe histórico, detalhe visual. Tanto os acontecimentos históricos estão bem fundamentados, trabalhados e recriados, como todos os pormenores visuais da época estão ótimos. Vestidos lindos, paisagens belas, espaços bem descritos, com o rigor da época sempre presente e sempre bem contextualizado. As questões morais, religiosas e tradicionais estão sempre lá, muito bem assentes e enraizadas, criando ainda mais realidade e veracidade, uma vez que estamos em plena Idade Média. Já li outro livro da autora e não estava à espera de menos, uma vez que é das melhores escritoras sobre a História Medieval. Rigor, detalhe e fundamentação. Três pontos chave e todos com nota máxima. A história em si, o enredo, está muito bem concretizado. A autora criou a história de modo a parecer uma jornada e isso está excelente. Desde pequena até à faixa etária dos 20 anos (para lá dos 20), a história de Leonor é aqui contada de uma maneira fluída, mágica, cheia de romance, ação e intriga. Leonor tem muitas escolhas a fazer, muitos perigos para enfrentar e muitas batalhas em vários campos para ganhar. A história está bem recheada de aventuras, romance e muita emoção. Todos os leitores vão gostar deste livro e vão querer continuar a ler esta história, que já está à venda. A Coroa do Inverno já está nas lojas e vou querer ler brevemente, pois fiquei imensamente curiosa para saber mais sobre Leonor e sobre o que aconteceu depois deste primeiro volume. Recomendo totalmente, a todos os leitores que gostam de histórias fortes, ricas e bem narradas. E, ainda, de referir o excelente trabalho gráfico a nível da capa e exterior, como do interior, que está muito belo.

  • Elena
    2019-02-18 18:09

    4.5 stars.The Summer Queen is the first book in a trilogy dedicated to Eleanor (or Alienor, which is how she is called in this novel) of Aquitane, one of England's most infamous and powerful queens. This first part covers the years from the death of her father, and her consequent marriage to Louis VII of France, until her arrival in England as Henry II's wife and queen.This is my first experience with Elizabeth Chadwick's books and I must say I was very impressed with it. It is clear she is passionate about her subject and history in general: the novel is a rich, immersive story, with a beautiful setting and realistic characters. Eleanor of Aquitane truly comes alive in this book. Apart from Alison Weir's biography, I've only read one historical fiction with her, but it was sadly disappointing. Luckily, I absolutely adored Chadwick's portrayal of Eleanor. She is presented as a smart, charismatic, strong-willed woman. Her evolution as a character is believable: at the beginning she is more naive and sincere, but as she growns she learns to better defend herself against the dangers she has to face. Her portrayal is maybe a little too sympathetic at times, but I don't think she comes across as too perfect. Also, Chadwick does show her less charming sides: for example, even if it is not plainly stated, it is clear that Eleanor is a clever manipulator, and I hope we will see more of this side of her in the next novels. The believable portrayal of the heroine was definitely my favourite aspect of the book, but I found the other characters to be well constructed as well. I loved Henry especially: like Eleanor, he is maybe too perfect at times, but his energy, charisma, and great will feel so believable and real that I was very satisfied with him. Again, I am very curious to see how he will evolve in the next novels, as well as how his later relationship with Eleanor will be portrayed.I have already purchased the second book, The Winter Crown, and I can't wait to read it. However, I don't want to start it too soon, because the last novel doesn't come out until october; but luckily, I can console myself with other Elizabeth Chadwick's novels in the meantime!

  • Margaret
    2019-02-03 18:04

    Ever since reading Skaron Kay Penman's Plantagenets series I have been fascinated with Eleanor of Aquitaine. So it was just a given when I heard about this book that it was a 'must read'. The first in a planned trilogy, beginning when Alienor (that is how she is referred to in this book), is just 13 years old. There are times when I anxiously await a new release that I have such high hopes and expectations which causes let down and disappointment when I finally read it. This was not the case with here, I LOVED THIS BOOK! I did not rush through this book, but sat back and thoroughly enjoyed the journey.Elizabeth Chadwick has written a wonderful story on the early life of Alienor, but not just Alienor, also her sister, Petronella, King Louis, young Henry and so many more. Starting at age 13 one can't help bonding and cheer for this young girl (we know girls of that age have no say in their lives) as she grows up along side King Louis."She had married a young man, never realizing he would become this warped semblance of a monk""Though supposedly a grown man and an anoited king, he was so childish and naive that she despaired of him"This book was well researched and written is such a way that one could smell the flowers, visualize the clothing and feel the lumps and bumps on the journey to Jerusalem. The book ended in a perfect place where Alienor begins a new phase of her life. I can't wait for book 2!I highly recommend this book to those your love historical fiction and getting lost in a book."Because he sees horizons when the others can barely see as far as the end of their own noses"