February 23, 2013

Review #10 : Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Ellen Jones

Beloved Enemy is about Eleanor of Aquitaine.  In the 12th century, Eleanor was kind of a feminist of her time- demanding she run the duchy of Aquitaine herself and wanting a relationship full of love, intellect, and sexual fulfillment.  

I really liked Eleanor and I liked reading about Henry II coming into his own as a ruler and I especially enjoyed the parts of the story surrounding the prostitute who grew up in a brothel, Bellebelle.   

Overall, I was not impressed with this book.  The story was spliced up in between long detailed outlines of historical events and facts.  There were ample opportunities to throw in some fictional story- thoughts from Eleanor or Henry, for example, that were left unclaimed.  I felt like the book needed another round with a skilled editor before it had become published.

With that said, Jones is very skilled at creating interesting, nuanced characters that are flawed, yet redeemable.  I also enjoyed the story when the plot line was not being bogged down with historical facts rather than woven together with the plot line.  However, this book missed the mark for me, unfortunately.

*I received this book for review from the author via Net Galley.*

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10 comments:

  1. Great review for a book you didn't particularly care about!

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  2. I agree with Holly! I have the author's book on Empress Maude and Stephen but haven't gotten to it yet. I don't think I"ll be moving it up on the TBR list...

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    1. Thanks, Daphne! I think she has a lot of potential so I am hoping future books will reveal that.

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  3. I'm glad this book had strong character development, even though it didn't work for you overall. Good review!

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    1. It really did! I think the author can write a better book.

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  4. I really would like to learn more about Eleanor of Aquitaine but I guess this will not be one of the books I consult-I want a truly fantastic story!

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    1. That's what I was hoping for. Some people liked it, but obviously it wasn't for me.

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  5. One of the things that has always bothered me about historical fiction is this need to "stick to facts" when it's a NOVEL and I'd really rather the author uses their imagination to tell a good story regardless of the historical record. That doesn't mean you should disregard it, but you can at least fill in the blanks.

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    1. Well, don't write off all historical fiction. It is a very hard genre to write because of these parameters. Some authors do it better than others.

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