February 11, 2010

Slightly dull history

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
by e.l. konigsburg

Eleanor of Aquitaine is in Heaven, waiting to learn if her second husband, King Henry II, will be able to join her. With Eleanor are Henry's mother, Matilda-Empress, William the Marshall, and Abbot Suger. To pass the time, they each tell a part of Eleanor's life, beginning when she became Queen of France.  

The main problem with this novel is perspective and voice. The three people telling Eleanor's story are merely observers. They do not take an active part in the story's events. It creates distance, making it difficult to wholly enter Eleanor's world. Even when we finally hear from Eleanor herself, it reveals very little. She only provides an unemotional summary of her deeds after Henry's death. Not very satisfying.

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