The Book of Eleanor

December 10, 2020
The Book of Eleanor

One of history's greatest women, celebrated by hercontemporaries, descendants, and biographers, now comes to life inthis mesmerizing new novel by bestselling author PamelaKaufman.In 1137, fifteen-year-old Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine, awealthy and powerful province in the south of France. Rich andinfluential in her own right, her tumultuous marriages thrustEleanor into the political and cultural spotlight, where she wouldremain for more than half a century.Still in her teens, young Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VIIof France, a sickly religious fanatic so obsessed with fears ofadultery that he kept his beautiful wife under lock and key, evenforcing her to go on a long and dangerous crusade with him. ButEleanor was delighted by the freedom of the crusader's life. Herhandsome Aquitanian knights, her deeds on horseback, and herscandalous attire were the talk of Europe; it soon became clearthat Louis's young wife was more than he could handle. A lifelongrebel, Eleanor would defy her husband and the Church, andeventually strong-arm the Pope into annulling her unhappymarriage.Once free of Louis, Eleanor thought to marry Baron Rancon, herchildhood love, but found herself forced into another politicalmarriage, this time with a younger and more dangerous husband—HenryII of England, a ruthless soldier known throughout Europe as "thered star of malice." In Henry Eleanor found a man whose iron willand political cunning matched her own, but the marriage was abitter and brutal one, which escalated into open warfare whenEleanor backed their sons in an armed rebellion against Henry.Vowing revenge, he imprisoned her for fifteen years, hoping shewould die in obscurity. But Eleanor would not go quietly. Inprison, she wrote her memoir; this is Eleanor's book.