Four Sisters, All Queens

Written by Sherry Jones
Review by Arleigh Johnson

The four beautiful sisters of Provence grew up in a household where daughters were educated like sons and expected to put loyalty to family first. Spanning five decades, this compelling medieval saga intertwines the sisters’ lives through happiness and sorrow.

Marguerite, Queen of France, marries the religiously fanatical Louis, who allows his mother to reign in his stead. Enduring an overbearing mother-in-law, spending years outside France on crusade and never possessing lands in her own right, Marguerite nevertheless remains strong and determined, fighting for her dowry.

Eleonore, Queen of England, finds a pleasant match early on with the fair but weak Henry III. With the barons on one side, and the queen’s foreign relations on the other, the king finds himself thwarted at every turn and unable to expand his kingdom or take back the lands lost by his father.

Sanchia, Queen of Germany, the most beautiful and extremely shy, had hopes of joining a convent — but family comes first. Married to the wealthiest man in England, who was later elected King of Germany, Sanchia never quite finds in her earthly husband what she desires from life.

Beatrice, Queen of Sicily, is the youngest and least understood of the sisters. Pampered by her father, she revels in her power over Provence and flaunts her ruthlessly selfish husband. She does possess the obligatory loyalty to family each of the sisters holds dear but is never able to reveal her heart because of the animosity among her family.

Featuring a host of characters, each with a convincing personality, is not an easy feat with so many to introduce. Though the story sometimes jumps years ahead, the chapters clearly label character, place, year and age, and the family trees are useful with the plethora of progeny.