Eleanor of Aquitaine: The Young Life (The Eleanor Code Book 1)

Written by Mark Richard Beaulieu
Review by Steve Donoghue

It is the beginning of her story, and the Aquitaine, indeed the world, will never be the same.”

The lush, prosperous land of Aquitaine, the wealthiest province in Europe in the 12th century, provides the crucially exceptional backdrop for the story Mark Beaulieu sets out to tell. The story of the childhood of the Aquitaine’s most famous historical resident, the young woman who would go on to become both Queen of France and Queen of England, but who would be known to history as Eleanor of Aquitaine.

In Beaulieu’s novel, the first in his ambitious Eleanor Code sequence, we meet a sunny, willful, already unconventional young Alienor long before the decades of her fame, at a period of her life that should provide little or no inherent drama, and yet Beaulieu manages, through a combination of quick pacing, vivid dialogue, and a consistently strong insight into the world of the mental origins of what would become the concept of courtly love, to make the story every bit as interesting as the more dramatic later periods of her life.

A genuinely involving read.