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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Book Review: Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe – Nancy Goldstone

First, I have to say, I don’t normally bring hard historical non-fiction as a vacation reading book. Second, I slogged through Alison Weir’s book on Eleanor of Aquitaine (the grandmother in law of two of the queens mentioned in this book) earlier this year, and was a bit nervous about trying other book about roughly the same time period so soon after. (I say this with respect. I’ve enjoyed several of Alison Weir’s books.)

So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was a good vacation read. The writing was extremely approachable, and the story of the four daughters of the Count of Provence and their marriages (to the Kings of France, England, Germany and Sicily) were fascinating. I’d only had a passing familiarity with Marguerite, the wife of St. Louis, king of France, and Eleanor, the wife of King Henry III of England, and the mother of Edward I. I enjoyed the background of these women, and the surprisingly large influence they had on the politics of their day. It still amuses me to read books about this timeframe and realize how fractured some of the countries we see today in Europe once were.

All and all, a good book. I’m glad the cover caught my eye at Borders, and that my library then graciously bought it.

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