I have updated my review and giveaway policies page (now just titled Policies above). If you are entering a giveaway, please read and abide by the applicable policy.

Attention Authors! If you arrived here looking for information on the Two Sides to Every Story guest post series, see the tab at the top of the page for more info!

Search This Blog

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Book Review: To Be Queen by Christy English

To Be Queen by Christy English
Book 2 in the Eleanor of Aquitaine series
ARC, Paperback, 400 pages
NAL Trade
April 5, 2011
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received from author for review for HFBRT event
“The author of The Queen's Pawn delves into the early life of the legendary Eleanor of Aquitaine in her new historical novel.

After her father's sudden death, fifteen-year-old Eleanor is quickly crowned Duchess of Aquitaine and betrothed to King Louis VII. When her new husband cannot pronounce her given name, Alienor becomes Eleanor, Queen of France.

Although Louis is enamored of his bride, the newly crowned king is easily manipulated by the church and a God that Eleanor doesn't believe in. Now, if she can find the strength to fight for what she wants, Eleanor may finally find the passion she has longed for, and the means to fulfill her legacy as Queen.”

In her follow-up to the highly enjoyable The Queen’s Pawn, Christy English brings us back a few years to a young Alienor who is just coming into her own as the up-and-coming Duchess of Aquitaine. We have the great privilege to follow Eleanor from Aquitaine to France, to the Holy Land and finally (at the very end) on to England. This novel allows us to really get a sense of how she came to be the powerful woman we know and love – the one who constantly opposes King Henry in The Queen’s Pawn. I really found myself liking this young Eleanor much more than the hardened Eleanor of later life – she was just so passionate.

I was also allowed the chance to get to know characters that were less familiar to me. Eleanor’s sister, Petra, plays an important role in the running of Aquitaine after Eleanor becomes Queen of France – I didn’t even know she had a sister but I quickly became a fast fan. King Louis was a more complex character than I initially thought. The relationship between him and his wife was interesting to watch develop – it was also painful to watch fall apart. You also get to see what attracted Eleanor to a young Henry of Normandy – he was determined and powerful – how could you not be attracted to him?

One of the strengths of the author in this novel was the ease in which she evokes the senses – sight and smell particularly. It really builds and adds to the descriptions of the world around us. The trip to the Holy Land was nothing like I imagined whenever I would hear that Eleanor went on Crusade with Louis. This trip was less focused on the events transpiring while en route and more on the evolution of Eleanor as a person. Building upon this, Christy develops a total woman in Eleanor – she is not just the stereotyped woman, although you can see where these famous stereotypes come from. We get to see a woman with flaws, but a woman who learns from them and grows.

A wonderful novel – just slightly more enjoyable than The Queen’s Pawn, mostly because I liked this version of Eleanor better. I can’t wait to see what she comes out with next!

Christy English has also written The Queen’s Pawn (you can find my review later this week). You can visit her website for additional information about her books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble  RJ Julia

Also by Christy English

the queens pawn
The Queen’s Pawn (Book 1 of Eleanor of Aquitaine)
[My Review]

aphrodites choice
Aphrodite’s Choice (Book 1 of The Goddess Diaries)

how to tame a willful wife
How to Tame a Willful Wife (Book 1 of Shakespeare in Love)

midsummer nght
Love on a Midsummer Night (Book 2 of Shakespeare in Love)

much ado about jack
Much Ado About Jack (Book 3 of Shakespeare in Love)

how to seduce a scot
How to Seduce a Scot (Book 1 of Broadswords & Ballrooms)

bed a baron
How to Bed a Baron (Book 1.5 of Broadswords & Ballrooms)

wed a warior
How to Wed a Warrior (Book 2 of Broadswords & Ballrooms)

train highlander
How to Train Your Highlander (Book 3 of Broadswords & Ballrooms)

Find Christy English: Website | Twitter


Also going on today as part of the HFRT event:
@ HFRT - "Getting to Know Christy English"
@ Hist-Fic Chick - Christy's Guest Post - "All We Have Left of Her"

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Great! I certainly love this time period and your review is convincing - I might just enjoy this book myself. I can never get tired of the Plantagenets.

  2. Love historical fiction, good review, thanks.

  3. I can't wait to read this book! Great review. ^.^

  4. Great review, Heather! I loved this book as well. I agree.. Petra was someone who added a lot of depth to this story. She was also in Pamela Kaufman's novel on Eleanor which I really enjoyed about 3 years ago, you should pick it up.

  5. Lovely review! I might start with this one since you enjoyed this Eleanor more!

  6. Marie - I will have to keep my eyes open for that book. Thanks!

    Audra - it's also better to read this one first if you are one who likes to read chronologically, but both were still very good reads.

  7. Wonderful review. I must read this book. I wish you would start writing uninviting reviews because you are really adding piles to my TBR. This book is on order at my library and I placed a hold on it.

  8. Teddy - HAHA! Hope you love it!

  9. Great review Heather you do have a way with words and you hit it right on the button with it was more focused on Eleanor's evolution.

  10. This sounds like a great read.
    laura.leahj@gmail dot com


Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!