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.