The Secret Eleanor

The Secret Eleanor Eleanor of Aquitaine seized hold of life in the th century in a way any modern woman would envy As Duchess of Aquitaine Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not f

  • Title: The Secret Eleanor
  • Author: Cecelia Holland
  • ISBN: 9780425234501
  • Page: 321
  • Format: Paperback
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine seized hold of life in the 12th century in a way any modern woman would envy 1151 As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not for her husband s title Now, as wife to Louis VII and Queen of France, she has found herself unsatisfied with reflected glory and feeling constantly under threat, even th Eleanor of Aquitaine seized hold of life in the 12th century in a way any modern woman would envy 1151 As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not for her husband s title Now, as wife to Louis VII and Queen of France, she has found herself unsatisfied with reflected glory and feeling constantly under threat, even though she outranks every woman in Paris Then, standing beside her much older husband in the course of a court ceremony, Eleanor locks eyes with a man hardly than a boy, really across the throne room, and knows that her world has changed irrevocably He is Henry D Anjou, eldest son of the Duke of Anjou, and he is in line, somewhat tenuously, for the British throne She meets him in secret She has a gift for secrecy, for she is watched like a prisoner by spies even among her own women She is determined that Louis must set her free Employing deception and disguise, seduction and manipulation, Eleanor is determined to find her way to power and make her mark on history.

    One thought on “The Secret Eleanor”

    1. Holland’s take on Eleanor of Aquitaine begins in 1150. Her marriage to Louis VII of France has yet to produce a son and heir (only two daughters) and she’s become something of a liability – at least that’s how flunky Thierry and Abbe Bernard see it. Eleanor gets a good look at Henry d’Anjou when he comes to court to pay homage to Louis and she thinks she’d like to dump hubby #1 and hitch her star to Henry instead. As for Henry, yep he’s lusting after the beauteous Eleanor as well, [...]

    2. Cecelia Holland has been one of my favorite authors of historical fiction since the 70's when I first read Great Maria so I was looking forward to reading her take on Eleanor of Aquitaine. This book covers the period when Eleanor was desperately trying to escape her husband, the French King Louis VII, and obtain an annulment and her freedom. Even though she had given birth to 2 daughters she was willing to give up everything to escape life at the French Court. The king was a very malleable, rath [...]

    3. Highly acclaimed and prolific novelist Cecelia Holland - arguably the true queen of historical fiction, whose books cover everything from early Byzantium to early 18th century California - brings us a novel about a pivotal year in Eleanor of Aquitaine's tumultuous career, when she launched her quest to get her marriage to pious Louis of France annulled so she could marry fiery Henry Plantagenet. Written in Ms Holland's elegant style The Secret Eleanor is also the tale of her "secret" other half: [...]

    4. In The Secret Eleanor Cecelia Holland explores that interstitial time in the life of Eleanor, the Duchess of Aquitaine, when she left her husband, King Louis VII of France, to become the wife of Henry Plantagenet, the 19 year old son of the Count of Anjou, who was 12 years her junior. Rather than attempting, as many other writers have tried, to capture the essence of Eleanor by examining her entire life, Ms. Holland has focused her attention on that short period of Eleanor's life when she made t [...]

    5. I've been reading history for a long time now, both fiction and non-fiction. I started off years ago with Jean Plaidy/Philippa Carr, Norah Lofts, Mary Stewart to name a few. I continued on to more recent releases like Philippa Gregory. I loved them all. I do realize that in many instances, "fiction" is the key word. Some of the books have proven to be quite controversial among readers, because they have explored some less than popular ideas-like "The Other Boleyn Girl". I still found them fascin [...]

    6. I think most everyone knows of Eleanor of Acquitaine and probably has read a book or two about her. She was Queen of France when married to Louis VII (in this version, he is a terrible pansy who makes no decisions for himself) and later, queen of England when married to Henry d'Anjou, son of Empress Mathilda. This novel begins during her marriage to the pansy and chronicles her love at first sight and supposed extramarital affair with Henry.For full review and a few laughs, click the link below: [...]

    7. 3.5 star read.Ok, so here we have the zillionth historical novel on Eleanor this year. Are we tired of her yet? I am definitely tired of the sexual references over and over and over. So if you are too, I would recommend reading Christy English's The Queen's Pawn. At least it had Eleanor in it where she did not fantasize about men in her bed (too much). After recently reading The Captive Queen by Weir, I was hesitant to read another novel that is slanted again so much towards that sexual drive of [...]

    8. Read my review and more on my historical fiction blog!Confessions and Ramblings if a Muse in the FogEleanor of Aquitaine is most well known for her marriage to Henry II and for being the devout mother of Richard I, but in The Secret Eleanor, Cecelia Holland focuses on Eleanor's early adulthood and her marriage to King Louis VII of France.From the Beginning of the book, Eleanor's ambition and thirst for power is quite apparent. While holding court in Paris, Eleanor meets Henry II and is quickly b [...]

    9. Subtitled "a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine" the book covers the period from August 1151 when Eleanor first met her future husband, Henry III of England, and May of 1152 when she married him. This book just never gripped me, even if it was good enough to keep me reading to the end. Some things I did appreciate in it--particularly with how Holland took as she put it in her afterward "the scraps" of what we know of Eleanor and from it fashions a plot surrounding a secret pregnancy--and history give [...]

    10. I've read a reasonable amount of historical fiction about Eleanor of Aquitaine, and the major players here are depicted in a different way than I've seen before. Take King Louis VII: in most of what I've read, he's written as wedded to the church, fearful of Eleanor, terrified of God's wrath. Here, instead, he is an ineffectual king and ineffectual husband, with wishy-washy tendencies, but he is fond of Eleanor and sort Henry II, usually presented as the manly-man hero (since Eleanor ende [...]

    11. How do you turn a woman who left an incredible mark on history by daring to choose her husband, who set a new standard for women in power into a shallow, conniving, backstabbing, whiny little girl? After reading The Secret Eleanor I’m still not too sure, but Cecelia Holland somehow managed it.As you’ve probably guessed, this book was a complete letdown. I expected to admire Eleanor because in history she really was a strong, intelligent and cunning woman. I didn’t expect the whiny, self-ce [...]

    12. This has been the year of Eleanor of Aquitane novels. No less than three novels have been published this year about the famous queen, so I was hoping that Cecelia Holland's The Secret Eleanor would stand out from the crowd. Eleanor is such a fascinating woman, but all of this year's Eleanor novels I've read so far have turned out to be boring. I had high hopes for The Secret Eleanor. I thought it could stand out from the pack, but it didn't. It just stayed flat.In fact, I didn't even finish the [...]

    13. I will say right off the bat that I have no prior knowledge of Eleanor, so I had no preconceived ideas of how this story or Eleanor herself should be represented. So in short I LOVED IT. It gripped me from the very first paragraph and did not let me go until the last page. I read this book in 4 days and loved every second of it. I'm not going to go into a synopsis here because lots of other people on Good Reads have done a great job of that. I have read some historical fiction and it is my favou [...]

    14. I didn't even know anything really about Eleanor until I started reading this novel and honestly, since my friend Tara sent it to me and I read her review of it, I was kind of scared. Honestly, the author of this novel I'm curious as to how she even thought up all of these different names for a man's private parts. I don't think I have ever heard them called "lance" or "manly stock" and I pretty much laughed the entire time I read any sex part of this book. But really, I ended up liking the book [...]

    15. The subtitle of this book should be: The ins and outs of going on Progress. If you want to know every excruciating detail of how a royal progress transpires, then this is your book. There is so much time wasted storytelling, weird side stories that serve no purpose to the real story, and just some boring dialogue, that was hard to finish. Sometimes, the dialogue was so bad, I had to reread a paragraph to understand it, and oftentimes I still didn't get what the author was trying to say. And then [...]

    16. Good book! A solid 3.5 stars. I really enjoyed reading about Petronilla, Eleanor's sister, who I never knew existed before this book. I also love Eleanor's story, how she really took things into her own hands when that was so uncommon for women at that time. I thought this really was an interesting and well-written story about these events.However, I do prefer my historical fiction to be a little more based in history. While this was a very entertaining version of events, hardly any of it had an [...]

    17. Okay, how many people noticed that this was pretty much The Other Boleyn Girl but Eleanor of Aquitaine instead of Anne Boleyn? The problem is, Philippa Gregory TELLS you it's about the famous person's younger sister- Cecilia Holland DOESN'T. this book said it was about Eleanor of Aquitaine and instead it was all about her younger sister Petronilla. ALL about Petronilla, the overlooked younger sister, which I wouldn't have minded so much if I had looked for a book ABOUT Petronilla. But when I buy [...]

    18. Guess there are some historical figures I don't like people to mess with--Eleanor of Aquitaine is one of them. The plot itself saved me from too much frustration since the author used Eleanor's sister as the main focus. Not easy to swallow that Eleanor would have ordered her sister's death regardless of how ruthless and strong of a ruler she was. Don't appreciate readers assuming that this is all based on fact--as a former history teacher combating Hollywood's version of history this is probably [...]

    19. This book is an imaginative telling of a short part of the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine. There is a reference somewhere that Eleanor and Henry II had a child named Phillip; on that thread this tale hangs. It is really more a story of her sister Petronilla whom most people probably like better than Eleanor in the end. The book was a little hard to get into, but if one persists, it does get interesting. Just don't think of it as history other than the descriptions of the times which I always find [...]

    20. I love it. As different as Ms. Holland's take is on the people I love, I really enjoyed this book. Get it, read it, and enjoy it for yourselves. All fans of Henry and Eleanor will enjoy, I think, and I think Ms. Holland will also create some new fans for Eleanor's sister, Petra. I was a fan already, so I was thrilled to see Eleanor's sister take a strong roll in such a wonderful novel.

    21. I read this with excited anticipation as Eleanor of Aquitaine is arguably my favorite female historic figure. This novel was difficult to embrace, although well written. The time is about a year or more (1151-1152) when Eleanor is married to Louis VII and has yet to produce a son. She meets the young(he is 19 to her 30)Henry II when he comes to Court to pay homage to Louis and is virtually struck by him on first site, a quick encounter ensues which, in this tome, produces a pregnancy. Eleanor no [...]

    22. Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most powerful women in European history. The Secret Eleanor is not a life story -- it jumps right in during her unsatisfying (and failed, if producing a male heir is the measurement of success) marriage to King Louis VII of France in the middle of the 12th century. When Henry, son of the Count of Anjou, pays a visit to Louis' court, Eleanor is smitten by the younger man, attracted to both his appearance and his potential claim to power, the English throne. Aft [...]

    23. This is an excellent book about a pivotal year in Eleanor of Aquitaine's life. The facts of that year are known, and Holland runs with it. Do I believe that the story in this book DID HAPPEN? No. Do I think that it could have happened? Yes. The author suspended my disbelief enough for that.It is a fun story. And Holland is a great writer for things like period effects. She talks about how much fun a progress is in the early days. And how tired people get after a while of moving, moving, moving. [...]

    24. This interlude in Eleanor's life between the year she first meet Henry and the time they were married, is "off". Its base sensibilities are not the mid-twelfth century, IMHO. A pregnancy is exactly the kind of "secret" that a Queen of that age and place could not have keptHO, this is the Cecilia Holland that is pure fairy-tale and not historical fiction. Eleanor of Aquitaine was a savvy and strong-willed woman. Her story and Henry's as a couple and in singular have been told to the politico base [...]

    25. Inventive, as usualHolland is one of my three most favorite historical fiction author's and has been since I stumbled across Great Maria many years ago. She draws characters one could envision having a chat with, so real are they, and plots, using what is known and drawing whole new worlds around it. Here she has taken the iconic mother of Richard the Lionheart, known to be the most beautiful woman of her time, and the richest In her own right and made a book out of a scandal that lives today - [...]

    26. I enjoyed the historical setting of this book and the way the author portrayed the time period. I didn't care so much for the power-hungry characters, or the author's use of the word "stalk" (or the equally repugnant - his sword in her scabbard). That being said, it was a perfectly fine read describing "what might have been" rather than being historically accurate, but if historical entertainment is what you after then this book is fine (it requires the reader to take quite a big leap of faith i [...]

    27. An intriguing and strong woman of history in a story about position, tradition, and saving face. Eleanor seemed attractive at the beginning, but after seeing the way she treats and exploits her sister, you side with Petronilla instead. Though Eleanor was known to have affairs, it was a bit more graphic than I would have liked, but a good story nonetheless. I liked the afterword as well, which gave the historical context and described her children and their powerful roles, namely Kings Richard th [...]

    28. This was a 3.5 star read for me. I almost flung this one at the wall after about 40 pages (I would have given this 4 stars if it had not started out in the way that it did) but the story got much better after Eleanor's first encounter with Henry. It was very interesting to see the world at that time from her sister, Petronilla's point of view. I liked her writing style and the story flowed well. I will definitely read more books by this author.

    29. Queen Eleanor wife of King Henry11 was a formidable woman for those times.She tricked herself out of marriage to the king of France and the rest is history. Henry had to lock her up for yes for inciting their sons to kill him.She was named the She Wolf,if you like English history this is very good.Noone could tame her. A miracle for a woman who were used as breeding machines.

    30. While I read it through due to a deep and abiding affection for Eleanor (mostly via Sharon Kay Penman's portrayals of her), I found this book a bit of a stretch. There's certainly nothing that I know of that says this entire debaclecould /not/ have happened, but one of its core conceits and plots just seems very far-fetched.

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