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Monday, April 2, 2012

Book Review: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot

Book Cover The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot
ARC, Paperback, 528 pages
NAL Trade
March 6, 2012
★★★★☆
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received from Publisher for review as part of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour
“Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals.  They were also queens.

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.”
The Sister Queens is indeed a book about sisters. We have the treat of getting to know all four of the sisters from Provence – Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice. As sisters, they share many similarities; however they each have their distinct personalities, which was wonderful to experience. Marguerite and Eleanor are of course the stars of this novel, as they were the only two who were queens at this point – although the younger two would attain this stature during their lifetimes as well.

The author’s true strength in this novel is her characters. All are very well crafted and no details as to their personalities or appearances were left out. While there were not too many sub-characters, those who were present were given distinct personalities as well. As you read you really become to feel that you know all of these characters personally and that they are telling you their story first hand. Although most of the communication between the two sisters was through letters, you could still feel their personalities shine through and see how they could still remain close despite the often extensive distance between them.

Each chapter starts out telling the reader whose life we are experiencing as well as the date and place. After I got a few chapters in, I noticed that I did not even look at these headers anymore because from the narrative and personality you could distinctly tell who we were reading about. I also didn’t feel like I needed the date or place references as you could get the feel throughout the narrative of our approximate distance from previous events and where we were located geographically.

If there is one place where the novel was lacking it was in the creation of the world in which we were in. It never came to distinct life for me. I could see the characters and what they were wearing quite vividly, as if they were in the room with me, but I never could really picture the setting – it was always sort of a void behind them. I could have used more details to create a picture in my mind.

The pages of this read absolutely flew by at a pace much faster than my recent reads this year. This is a testimony to just how well written these characters were and how invested in their lives I became. You are simply sucked into all of the ups and downs that these women face. I would love to read more about their lives or those of their other two sisters.

This is author Sophie Perinot’s first novel. You can visit Sophie’s website or blog for additional information about the book.

TheSisterQueensTourButton

You can follow the rest of Sophie’s blog tour by visiting the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours website.  You can also follow the tour on Twitter with #SisterQueensVirtualBookTour

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 



Copyright © 2012 by The Maiden’s Court

4 comments:

  1. I loved this book, too and posted my review of it last week. It was the first time I had read about this time period and now I am eager to read more. I agree with you that it was easy to tell who was narrating based on the actions and thoughts.

    I am looking forward to reading more by Sophie Perinot - hopefully she will have something new out soon!

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    1. She really hit on the sister relationships. I also hope that we do not have to wait all that long for a second book. I have linked to your review of The Sister Queens above - hope you don't mind!

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  2. Good review. I have this one on my shelf and all the positive reviews are encouraging.

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    1. Hope you enjoy it when you get the chance to read it!

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