The Queen’s Daughter
Eleanor of Aquitaine, Henry II, and their sons strut across the stage of medieval history, completely overshadowing the rest of their family—not to mention most other historical figures of their time. Susan Coventry sets out to remedy this, using the scant historical record to recreate the life of Eleanor and Henry’s daughter, Princess Joan.
We first meet Joan at age seven, both a victim and tentative co-conspirator in the sometimes literal battles among her family. At ten, we see her shipped off to be married to the King of Sicily, and watch the adolescent queen negotiate a foreign culture and a cold marriage, attempting to be true to her schooling by Eleanor. Finally, a childless widow in her twenties, she returns to the wardship of her brother Richard, now king. Thrust into the midst of her warring family once more, can she be loyal both to them and herself?
The story reads lightly but with plenty of history, and is a good introduction to the fascinating lives of this incredible family. A great debut, although I would recommend it for older readers due to sexual content.
The Queen’s Daughter is a very well-written novel, with extremely believable characters. One thing I liked about it was the reality of the situations Joanna was thrust into and the determined, capable way in which she dealt with them. One thing I disliked was the portrayal of King William of Sicily as weak and cowardly. On the whole, however, its good qualities far outweigh the bad, and I would recommend this book to older readers.
Early Medieval (to 1337)