The Captive Queen by Alison Weir
Date read: 14th March 2018 – 14th March 2018
Page count: 473
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback (Library)
String me up and hang me from the altar of historical accuracy if you don’t agree with me, but I actually didn’t mind this book.
Alison Weir is a pretty polarizing author—she is not a historian, by any means (unlike many people who do write historical fiction), which isn’t a grounds for concern, but it’s something a lot of people like to bring up when critiquing her stories. Her writing style is very easy to read and understand, and considering I was first recommended her by my beloved Year Eleven English teacher, I am predisposed to enjoy everything she puts out.
Oh, and I met her. But I’m trying to not let that affect my opinion of this book.
The Captive Queen is the fictionalised story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, a 13th Century princess from the French province of Aquitaine. She’s quite a controversial figure in English history, as she was married to King Henry II, and famously drew up arms against him, along with her sons. However, this novel starts at the time of the annulment of her marriage to Louis VII of France, in 1152, when Eleanor is 31.
Probably the most notable aspect of this story is how Alison Weir portrays Eleanor as a sex-obsessed queen, who marries Henry for his good looks and attractiveness, and not a whole lot else. Henry is not the best man to ever walk the planet (although I think if you read any biography of him, historically accurate or not, it’s a pretty common sentiment) and I ended up despising his entire existence.
Overall, I do think my main gripe with the story is just how sex-obsessed Alison Weir made Eleanor. I feel like there was a lot more to her than that, and I hope there actually was. However, seeing history through the eyes of someone that was really a remarkable woman was fascinating.
I gave The Captive Queen three stars out of five, so it wasn’t the most amazing historical fiction novel I’d ever read, but it wasn’t the worst, by any means. I would really recommend Alison Weir in general, though, as she reads properly readable historical novels, that aren’t maybe the most accurate but are definitely some of the most enjoyable.