Published in 2014, 483 pp, Sphere
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
The second installment of Elizabeth Chadwick’s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, The Winter Crown opens in the winter of 1154. Eleanor is married to the young Henry FitzEmpress, son of Geoffrey of Anjou, the father of the Plantagenet dynasty, and Empress Matilda, heiress of the English throne, and is playing the part of child bearer well. Whilst Chadwick’s first novel, The Summer Queen, focuses on young Eleanor, this one portrays Eleanor the woman. We have seen her overcome many hardships and flee from an unhappy marriage for the love of a young, feisty suitor. However, not long after the honeymoon period wears off, we see that young Henry is a force to be reckoned with. He has the Plantagenet temper and refuses to share power. He is desperate to claim his birth right; the English throne, and will do whatever it takes to get it. This leaves Eleanor alone to raise the children she bears him and to stew over the fact she is no longer in her homeland the Duchy of Aquitaine.
Published in 2015, 416pp, Bloomsbury
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book. I loved this book. It’s been many years since I last finished a Young Adult series but since discovering Booktube, I’ve been persuaded to pick some up. Boy, was that the best idea I’ve had in a while! A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas came highly recommended so I bit the bullet and ordered it; I’d been in a bit of a reading slump whilst attempting to slog through the rest of Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd and I’m so glad I bought it. This book reignited my passion for storytelling all over again and gave me the kick I so desperately needed (even though my bank balance objected) to get back on the reading wagon.
I am a planner/notebook/journal addict. Always have been, always will be. And hey, there are worse things to be addicted to. *cough Diet Coke…*
I do have a Goodreads account (you can add me as a friend here) which I think is great for tracking how many books i’ve read this year, joining groups and discovering new books, as well as keeping an ongoing list of books I need to buy. But I wanted something as a permanent reminder that I can add to and keep track of all the books I’ve read and what I thought of them. Enter the Moleskine Passions Book Journal. It took me a while to make it my own, but now I have, I love it.
Published in 2015, 694pp, Orion
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I’ve been eyeing this up all year and I finally took the plunge. The story is set in Carcassonne in 1209 and in 2005, intertwining the lives of Alais Pelletier du Mas and Alice Tanner. Normally, I avoid books set across multiple time periods as I tend to find them poorly linked and unbelievable, but this one *thankfully* is utterly breathtaking – and I am so glad I finally picked it up.
Beautifully written, the narrative slips between the lives of the two heroines, one life echoing the other. Alais’ story begins in Carcassonne, an impressive fortress city in the south of France on the cusp of the Fourth Crusade. Continue reading