Author: Sherry Jones
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publish Date: May 8, 2012
Source: I received a copy from the author; however, this did not affect my review.
Why You're Reading This Book:
- You're a historical fiction fan.
- You like family stories.
From Goodreads.com: " Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . . . Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”
With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.
Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.
From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history."
My Two Cents:
Marguerite, Eleonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice are all sisters and all queens. They all knew from very young ages that they would be married off to men who could increase their family's prestige and power. Talk about pressure. I'm not sure that I could function under that much pressure; I guess it's a good thing that I live now and not in those days. The fact that all four of these women become queens is fascinating.
Being one of three girls, I'm always fascinated with sister stories. That is a really, really special bond. In this book, you really get to see that bond between the sisters (although some of them seem to be more bonded than others throughout the book). This book explores a lot of loyalty issues. From a very young age, the sisters hear that family comes first; however, once they are married and off on their own in their own, they have other loyalties that start pulling on them. It was interesting to see how differently each sister dealt with the various pressures. You get the sense that all four of the sisters have very different personalities, which makes it even more interesting.
The story focuses mostly on Marguerite, who becomes married to the French King, and on Eleonore, who is shipped oh so far away to become the Queen of England. I'm wondering if there isn't a lot of information on Sanchia and Beatrice as there is notably less on both of them. It would be interesting to know more about them.
One thing that I noticed in this book is that it is written in the 3rd person present point of view, which isn't something you see very much. It definitely took me awhile to get used to it but once I got into it, I appreciated that the style brought you into the book a little more actively.
Bottom line: I think this is a good book for historical fiction lovers who like stories about family ties.