This week I’m into historical fiction, courtesy of the inexpensive books found at our local Goodwill Store. My current reading is a book titled Devil’s Brood by Sharon Kay Penman. It is the third in the author's Eleanor of Aquitaine series. Fiction based on facts about of King Henry II and his family. This family is tearing itself apart as his four sons reach adulthood. Henry sees Eleanor first as his wife and Queen. Then as the Duchess of Aquitaine. She sees herself as the Duchess first and then as his Queen and wife. Their sons Hal, Richard, Geoffrey and John each have their own ambitions and desires. A family tragedy is writ large around marriage, child-parent relationships, sibling rivalries, ambition, betrayal and just plain greed. The historical facts and descriptions of the 12th century ring true to me. Even more compelling is the author's psychological fine tuning of the main characters motivations. The dialogue is often riveting.
Starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole
I’ve been trying to recall other novels I’ve read about the medieval period in European history. One of my all time favorites does come to mind. That is Ken Follett's The Pillars Of The Earth. The story of the building of a great gothic cathedral had a vibrancy all its own. Another was the story of the life of Sir Christopher Wren and the building of St. Paul’s in London . The author of Devil's Brood certainly knows her history and is a wonderful writer.
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