NAL, Jun 7 2011, $15.00
Her father trained her to be more than a duchess. When he died Eleanor knew how fragile her possession of the Duchy of Aquitaine is due to her gender and her youth. She needs a powerful husband who she can manipulate. However, her arranged marriage by her father before he died, to French king Louis VII proves frustrating as he turns out to be too week to disobey the church. Her brazen attitude sits well in Aquitaine, but not amongst the royal priests, family and retinue. When she meets Henry Plantagenet, she decides to dump her French spouse for an English husband.
Although the story of Eleanor has been told a zillion times (see The Captive Queen by Alison Weir), Anne O’Brien provides a fresh perspective. Eleanor is intrepid as she challenges the church leaders who control her husband. Her request for an annulment is granted mostly to get this thorny rose out of a position of power and influence only she crossed the Channel and married into an even more powerful position due to her strong spouse. This is an engaging biographical fiction.