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!Free Book ☼ The Autumn Throne ♼ England, Imprisoned By Her Husband, King Henry II, Eleanor Of Aquitaine, Queen Of England, Refuses To Let Her Powerful Husband Bully Her Into Submission, Even As He Forces Her Away From Her Children And Her Birthright Freed Only By Henry S Death, Eleanor Becomes Dowager Queen Of England But The Competition For Land And Power That Henry Stirred Up Among His Sons Has Intensified To A Dangerous Rivalry Eleanor Will Need Every Ounce Of Courage And Fortitude As She Crosses The Alps In Winter To Bring Richard His Bride, And Travels Medieval Europe To Ransom Her Beloved Son But Even Her Indomitable Spirit Will Be Tested To Its Limits As She Attempts To Keep The Peace Between Her Warring Sons, And Find A Place In The Centres Of Power For Her Daughters Eleanor Of Aquitaine S Powerful Story Is Brought To A Triumphant And Beautiful Close By Much Loved Author Elizabeth Chadwick
The third book in Elizabeth Chadwick s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy, The Autumn Throne details the last twenty eight years of Alienor s life, starting from her incarceration for having supported her sons in revolt against her husband King Henry II to her death in 1204 In between are periods of glory and discontent, of war and peace, of gains and losses, of joys and tears and through it all, Alienor has remained a steadfast queen and a constant fixture within the political realm Eleanor of Aquitaine led an extraordinary life and not everyone can boast of that great feat That she had weathered all storms and come out of it still polished and unbending is indeed remarkable She may not have made all the correct choices in life, but looking at it from her perspective or from how she was presented in this book , you can find a degree of respect and understanding in her decisions I ve always known the author is a good storyteller and can make every character and historic event seem alive with her words, as I ve seen in her other works But there were moments or chapters in this book when I did not feel that magical connection it somehow lacks the fluidity and dynamism I ve felt with most of her books Honestly it was a little tedious for me reading the first chapters thinking most were merely long winded discussions of Alienor s trivial life in prison anyway and only felt that familiar magical pull at the part when Richard the Lionheart becomes king And I truly feel guilty because I so love Elizabeth Chadwick and shouldn t feel this way about her work But still, The Autumn Throne is worth a try Good writing, great pace And I wouldn t pass up an opportunity to read something about the Middle Ages and the Plantagenets. I seem to be developing quite a taste for royal historical novels I m slowly expanding my reading beyond that of the Plantagenet Tudor times and that s one of the two reasons I downloaded this as an arc from netgalley.The other reason was personal I m keen on genealogy and Eleanor or Alienor in the book is actually my 25th great grandmother I know this is a work of fiction but as with many of these based on extensive research so fascinating to discover what this woman and great granddad King John was potentially like And what a woman I love the idea that well into her 70 s she was still extensively travelling and being involved in politics I really struggled to like eldest son Richard Lionheart and wondering if that s latent DNA of being related to his brother It made me chuckle anyway In terms of the actual book, it s a long story covering 30 years and sometimes I felt that time span It s 520 pages according to Goodreads and I couldn t seem to read at my usual pace I wouldn t say the story dragged, it did keep my attention but I struggled with the length on this one.The writing is excellent though You can tell there has been a lot of research as the characters are very well rounded and fit the personalities we know of them Alienor is a very strong woman but the author isn t afraid to show her vulnerable side It s a fascinating insight into a woman who once travelled by horseback to Jerusalem when women were meant to be at home producing heirs and also gave us a couple of iconic kings and an incredible dynasty My first book with this author but I ll be going back to read the first two books to see if that Jerusalem journey is recounted as it s caught my interest and to see the other works this author has done Highly recommended A daunting task it must be to breathe freshness into a formidable historical persona with the unmatched fiery spirit of anyone in her era, and to illuminate such a larger than life character in a work of fiction In Summer Queen, young Alienor of Aquitaine became queen to King Louis VII of France, and later in Winter Crown, as queen to King Henry II of England, she bore England s sovereign eight children Chadwick s last installment in the trilogy of Alienor of Aquitaine picks up as she is imprisoned by Henry at Sarum Castle for supporting a rebellion by his sons, and proceeds with the telling of the autumn of her life, of the distrust by Henry for her and their Devil s Brood, aptly portraying a dysfunctional royal family Flanked on occasion by Alienor s reminiscences as queen of two powerful and politically adversarial countries, she became an elated mother to kings and queens, and unconsolably, a heartbroken parent mourning the untimely deaths of her children Along the road map of her travails as regent to the kingdom, maternal advisor, political liaison, ransom procurer, marital matchmaker, and defender in her late 70 s, mind you against a siege at Mirebeau castle historical facts were kept in check Somehow disappointingly, Autumn Throne couldn t quite shake off a flatness of affect as that element of history telling predictability extinguished any surprising sparks I expected striking figures such as Henry II and Richard I, and naturally Alienor, to leap off the page with animated characterization, to stimulate the imagination and adrenalin flow Even John, considered to be the darkest and I m being polite son of the brood, seemed uncharacteristically filial, and oddly competent Alienor of Aquitaine is historically noted as politically minded and clever by nature, a fair yet shrewd, powerful and successful female monarch in an inflexibly male dominated world In raising female significance and rights even in her time would be a considerable feat, yet one she could nonetheless manipulate from her high position I, however, could not reconcile with her demanding her grand daughter, Blanche, not yet a full fledged teen, to marry mainly for political alliance, a business deal royal families have done for centuries Alienor, in whose court chivalry was said to be vitally alive, came off atypically unsympathetic In coercing Blanche over her older sister to marry Louis, the son of King Philip II of France, Alienor seemed coldly pimpish while rationalizing that its your duty like it was mine I paraphrase Such an event did happen, but the unnecessarily crude delivery is tweak able in fiction land However, recalling Alienor of the first two books, I think this may have been an unintended effect Least climactic in the series of Alienor of Aquitaine, Autumn Throne still offers die hard Chadwick fans relaxed entertainment and easy transport into Alienor s medieval zone And yes, her signature shiny knight, William Marshal, delightfully made appearances, vaguely restoring the fading sentiment of chivalry to Alienor s autumn. 3.5 starsThe final book of the Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy EC always writes biographical novels better than her historical romances and, this being the last part of Alienor s life EC s chosen spelling, as being how she signed herself there s not a lot of romance going on, thankfully It s a competent account but leaves something to be desired In her author s note she explains that she left the issue of Richard s sexuality alone as there really isn t any evidence for homosexuality This struck me as a bit of fence sitting, to be honest That aside, she presents a lot of the gossip of the time as if it were fact Henry II s alleged affair with Alais Alys of France, for instance She certainly doesn t like Henry and appears to blame him for everything Poor old John also gets the traditionalist treatment and is presented as a proper bad egg.The history itself is pretty sound and, as the gossip is part of history, acceptable in the story but disappointing It s as if she didn t bother to get to know the characters Most of them are fairly superficially drawn.A disproportionate portion of the book is spent with Alienor imprisoned by Henry and the very colourful final 15 20 years is pretty much whizzed through until we reach her being besieged by Arthur and rescued by John Following this, she receives the news of Arthur s disappearance in 1203 as if it were a natural occurrence and entirely what she would have expected John to do NOTE no one knows what happened to Arthur and so yet again EC is going with the gossip that credits his death to John, though she stops short of accusing him of personally having murdered him.It s a good read but disappointing Pretty much every point where a novelist could have put forward her own theory, to be justified in the Author s note, is characterised by fence sitting in the form of presenting historical gossip as fact, reminding me of The Vatican Princess A Novel of Lucrezia Borgia which was one of the biggest bitch fests I have read in a long time The Autumn Throne is the third and final book in Elizabeth Chadwick s Eleanor of Aquitaine trilogy and brings to a close the riveting and fascinating story of this tremendously interesting woman A duchess in her own right, but also a queen twice over, she was quite the stateswoman within the confines and attitudes of the times She was a tigress where her children were concerned, especially her sons, but also as revealed by this author s scholarship and thorough research a loving mother who suffered much in her ambitions for her children.Eleanor or correctly Alienor, was banished and held captive by her second husband Henry II after she supported her two eldest sons in a revolt against Henry The Autumn Throne begins with Alienor having already served two years of what was to be fifteen years of imprisonment She had already suffered the indignation of being publicly usurped by her husband s mistress, and now, adding insult to injury, she has been incarcerated, with few luxuries and little or no company Over the course of her fifteen years confinement she is occasionally summoned by her husband for various reasons but always because he requires something from her Occasionally she is given a few luxuries, but always her freedom is curtailed however, never does she compromise her integrity in order to please Henry or to earn herself comforts and often she is sent back into cold penury because of his anger at her obstinacy In the end, her cruel imprisonment is brought to an end by the sudden death of Henry, and Richard honours his mother publicly as Queen of England.Elizabeth Chadwick portrays Henry II as a cold and distant man a man who never shows weakness and who seems undisturbed at the deaths of his own children and that portrayal, as I see it is spot on The way I read and understand it, is that the author s interpretation is based on his treatment of a wife who brought him many riches and lands, who faithfully stood by him, bore a large family in quick succession and in the very early years of their marriage played an active role in the governing of their vast joint holdings in England and France Henry was a wheeler and dealer and as Ms Chadwick succinctly showed in The Winter Crown he often got his fingers burned one has only to think of the catastrophic failure of his attempt to deal with Thomas Becket He seems to have been a man who was afraid to delegate power in case it diluted his own this is borne out by the fact that he was shown to be a reasonably loving and caring father whilst his children were young but treated his sons as rivals once they grew to young adulthood.Elizabeth Chadwick s characters are beautifully drawn and developed and she brings the various members of the family and other peripheral characters to brilliant and vibrant life My particular favourites are Richard and John Richard, Alienor s favourite son and the heir to her personal dominions of Gascony, Aquitaine and Poitou, is a stunning character, tall and golden, a god amongst men truly worthy of his nickname of Lion Heart In contrast, John is shown from an early age as being a sly troublemaker who wheedles his way into his father s affections for his own gain but as he is his father s son, he has no real depth of feeling and cares for few In the end he leaves his father alone to die a degrading and undignified death.Alienor outlived all but one of her sons In this book, the events leading up to Richard s death her frantic race to be by his side and her dreadful sorrow are palpable and empathetically portrayed by this author who has expertly mixed her vast historical knowledge and research with her immense talent for transporting us into the moment.I love Elizabeth Chadwick s clever little observations historic touches and how she reaches her conclusions as to how they may have come into being Such as how we see Alienor overseeing the carving of the effigy of Henry s tomb in Fontevrault Abbey, Chinon and her reasoning as to why he is depicted as a young man And too, there is Alienor s own effigy, and the possibility that she may have had a hand in the planning and design of it the explanation of her own attire her headdress and the fact that she is holding an open book.The Autumn Throne is a wonderful ending to a fantastic series Alienor of Aquitaine has been adroitly and sympathetically portrayed by this great author of historical fiction and as has been the case with William Marshal, I suspect that she has increased the level of interest in this fascinating, medieval queen A highly recommended must read for fans of historical fiction. Absolutely perfect. I have always been fascinated by this period of history and so I entered this Goodreads Giveaway hoping I would be one of the lucky ones chosen When it arrived I could hardly wait to start reading In Junior School I felt so sorry for all those disappearing Plantagenets and a little later I lapped up the film, The Lion in Winter Here is the same story from the female perspective and it is told so well Obviously when you write a historical novel the balance has to be between fact, fiction, invention and implied fact and you need to hold the reader s attention Elizabeth Chadwick does this beautifully Her characters spring to life and her insight into this period reads as authoritative I cannot complain about the work of any author that keeps me reading virtually non stop for five hundred pages Here we see a celebration of the strength of character of Eleanor of Aquitaine Alienor how she rises above the many cruel wrongs inflicted on her how she holds it all together despite one tragedy after another and, in an age where surviving past forty was rare, she outlives them all except John This is the final part of a trilogy and I haven t had the privilege of reading the first two in the series but you don t have to read them first to enjoy this wonderful book It stands alone and is glorious in its interpretation of a savage period in history where psychopathic Kings and Barons vied to destroy each other and the very act of childbirth itself was life and death Highly recommended and deserving of its 5 ratings. The Autumn Throne flows smoothly as the reader is captured by Elizabeth Chadwick s exquisite prose that tells the tale of Eleanor of Aquitaine s last years Beginning with her years of imprisonment by order of her husband King Henry II at the Palace of Sarum, she is freed by her son Richard Lionheart The novel spans her last 30 years of life until her death at Fontevraud Abbey Now a widow, in her last 30 years Eleanor lived a period of glory and loss If this volume lacks the ups and down of her relationships with both of her King husbands, it is in many ways as fascinating She acted as regent during her son Richard s absences from the kingdom as he goes on Crusade collected and organized his ransom negotiated treaties arranged marriages dealt with her son John s treacheries, later supporting his ascension to the throne This time was not a peaceful or easy period for England, and Eleanor had her hands full but she did not seem to slow down The book flows, and Chadwick certainly makes Eleanor and the other characters in the book become real people and not merely historical figures The Autumn Throne brings to a close another great Chadwick trilogy with the enticing and poignant story of this remarkable woman It tells us how she had to fight and play the game of power every year of her life without demure and was capable of making history in an era dominated by men. Eleanor of Aquitaine was an amazing woman Elizabeth Chadwick tells her story in such a way that you feel as if you lived and breathed alongside the characters.