Book Review #13: The Winter Crown by Elizabeth Chadwick
Finished on March 24, took 3 days to read
5 stars on Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction
Rating 2/2 Historical Fiction
Good lord Elizabeth Chadwick has a way with words! The Winter Crown is her second installment in the Aelinor (actual historical spelling of Eleanor) of Aquitaine series. I am hooked on this series. I read the first one back in January and I am deliberately taking a few months off between each installment to make them last as long as possible.
When we last left Aelinor, she had married recently crowned King Henry II of England and given birth to her first son, William. The Winter Crown takes us through the first fifteen years of Aelinor’s life with Henry and their rule. Between the two of them, Henry and Aelinor ruled everything between Scotland down to the Pyrenees, making for some difficult governing along the way.
The bulk of the book focuses on the birth of their many, many children and their deteriorating marriage. Aelinor is strong-willed and won’t be set in a corner to be a “brood mare” but Henry refuses to listen to her good counsel. As most people know, there are some dramatic events surrounding Henry’s chancellor and eventually Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket. I appreciated that the author focused on Aelinor’s interactions with Becket only when necessary as the martyrdom of Becket has been told too many times.
I confess even as a British history major I cannot remember the end result of this dynasty, though the book ends with rebellion. It will be very difficult to wait another few months to read the third and final book in this series. After that, I plan to rewatch The Lion in Winter immediately.
While these books are dense and not quick reads, they are absolutely worth it. Please read it today if you like depictions of strong women in history.