Tumultuous. Passionate. Timeless. The marriage between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet was like no other, born of power, politics, and an all-consuming, fiery love. Within two years of their wedding, Henry conquered England and together they ruled a vast kingdom. At first they worked to unify and repair their war-torn lands - before being torn apart by intrigue, adultery, and deadly revenge.
Henry II dreams of enacting a new judicial system, a common law that would help foster peace. But a devastating betrayal by his closest confidante, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, thrusts Henry into a rivalry that threatens to tear church and state apart. Eleanor, an accomplished ruler in her own right, steps in to help Henry quell the rebellions across their lands. But when she learns of her husband’s secret romance with the fair, young Rosamund de Clifford, it shatters her heart and ignites a bitter vengeance that will engulf their family in treachery and betrayal. As Eleanor takes the side of her sons against their father, these young royals, chafing for power of their own, wreak havoc across the continent, igniting a war whose tragic consequences Eleanor could never have foreseen.
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By Kristi R on 24-06-14
Eleanor and Henry II of England
This book was interesting for the most part. Parts of it dragged especially when Eleanor was imprisoned and other people's stories were at the forefront. I have read several books on Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II. The Lion at Winter is one of my favorite movies.
The narrator for this book tries to sound like Katharine Hepburn and does a good job. I hated her characterization of Thomas Becket, he was lispy and very wimpish. Not Richard Burton at all.
The story begins with Eleanor and Henry already a family with Fair Rosamund just around the corner. The author takes a lot of liberties with her death and sorry to say but I can't buy it. This is one reason I can't give it five stars.
The author does great when describing the complicated relationship between Eleanor and Henry. I have no trouble believing in their love even though both have hurt each other over the years. Wonderful job here!
The childrens' complicated relationship is handled quite well also. When you have a strong father and mother and no clear outline for your future it's difficult to act responsibly.
My husband and childrens' bloodline can be traced back to Henry and Eleanor's son John so this is a personal story for me.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By Sarah on 06-09-13
Any additional comments?
Gilded Cages is the second book recounting the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine; the first, Beloved Enemy, tells of her marriage to Louis of France and the beginning of her life with Henry II; this volume completes her biography. The story is well-known; the main difference from some writers' interpretation is that Thomas a Becket is portrayed very negatively.
Apart from Ms. Jones' excessive fondness for the archaic term "sennight" [a week], which she uses on every occasion she can fit it in, I found this an enjoyable listen, and well read. Falls into the "ripping yarn" category. Recommended, as long as you are not looking for a scholarly work. Some of the episodes are more legendary than documented.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful