Friday, 6 May 2011

Devil's Consort by Anne O'Brien

Title: Devil's Consort
Author: Anne O'Brien
Publisher: MIRA Books
Published: p/b 21st April
ISBN: 978 0778304272

Rating: 4.5/5

The cover on this is different.  I like the fonts used in both the title and sub text, however the title itself is lost amongst the background and isn't overly visible on first glance unless you happen to catch the metallic title font in sunlight.

Based on history, this is a substantial book with just over 600 pages.  Also included are family trees and a map of the areas of France relating to the time of the book (from 1137).  Devil's Consort tells the story of Eleanor, daughter and heir to William, Duke of Aquitaine, who is facing an arranged marriage to Louis Capet.

The details of all the characters are fantastic.  Eleanor, strong willed, educated and for her time, advanced in her thinking.  Louis...a bendable weakling who is easy to manipulate and loves the church above all else.  He starts off coming across as very shy and innocent but proves to be unpredictable and unbending in some of his obnoxious schemes later in the book, and as a reader I came to loathe him as much as Eleanor undoubtedly did.  Raymond - Eleanor's uncle who is everything Louis is not at that stage of the book, and finally Henry, an equally strong willed man who is more of a suitable match to Eleanor than Louis ever was.

The book gave me enough information and history to follow the storyline with ease, and time and time again I got to see behind the scenes in Eleanor's mind and thoughts as she tries to outwit and gain what is rightfully hers.  Eleanor doesn't have an easy life, and it's easy to forget how privileged our own lives are.  Throughout Eleanor is strong willed and determined, which pays off.

A thoroughly enjoyable and educational read, as it is based on history.  I loved the way the characters came to life and their mannerisms and uniqueness really shone.

Book synopsis:
ENGLAND'S MOST RUTHLESS QUEEN. Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, is a determined woman who plots and schemes an astonishing path between two equally powerful men in twelfth century Europe, a woman who can manoeuvre and manipulate to safeguard her own lands as effectively as any power-grasping lord. Eleanor is single-minded in her struggle to keep her inheritance intact, leading her to reject one husband and take another who will fulfil her desires. Eleanor intends to reign as Queen and is prepared to bring scandal down upon herself in pursuit of her ultimate prize. Hers is a story of power, political intrigue, passion and love.

Source - received in return for an honest review.

1 comment:

Jules (The Great, The Good and The Bad) said...

This sounds really good!

Definitely one that I would be interested in reading.