Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages–but never truly parted.
Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister’s boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?
Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away? The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. I love historical fiction. I suppose it’s unfair of me to compare the work of a first time novelist to the genius of Philippa Gregory, but since she is – for me – the pinnacle of what historical fiction should be, it is supremely difficult for me not to do so. And so I did.
It started off well enough. The older sister, married off to the French king to become queen of France – a couple years later her younger sister married off to the English king to be his queen. The fact that the two countries weren’t particularly fond of each other added some intrigue. After that? After the excitement of the meetings and the marriages and the settling in to royal life? The bloom came crashing down off the rose.
The book dissolves into a mind-numbingly mundane account of their lives. Thing is, where there SHOULD be emotion stirred up in the reader, there was no connection enough for me to feel anything. Except annoyed that I’d only made it through 5 of what I think was going to be a 20 year account.
That’s right. I don’t really know how many years this book spans because I did not finish it. I just couldn’t. I felt like I was reading a history book, not an historical fiction novel. Finally it dawned on me that if I wanted to find out what happened to these ladies, I could probably just Google it and find out exactly what happened. There was no need to keep trudging through this book.
Some people have liked this book. I just couldn’t get into it. Me. Couldn’t get into a book from the genre I love so much. It was very disappointing. For the record, I didn’t try just once to read this book. I put it down and picked it up 3 separate times just hoping I’d find something about it to hold my interest. It just didn’t happen.
I’m going to follow in the footsteps of the ever impressive Jess and then Brook who followed in Jess’ footsteps and give this book, that I did not finish, One out of five crowned jewels.