The Queen's Daughter
Joan’s mother is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England. She loves them both—so what can she do when she’s forced to choose between them? As her parents’ arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn.
When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself with a man ten years her senior. She doesn’t love him, and she can’t quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond.
As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents’ worldview is warped by their political ambitions, and hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And, more important, whom to love?
The Queen's Daughter has been one on my most anticipated titles of the year. It was also a major mystery to me. I hadn't heard much hype over it and I didn't really know anything about Eleanor or Joan. My interest in history has a tendency to be 1500s and later. But this? I just HAD to read this. No questions asked.
I expected to really like this book, maybe even put it on my favorites shelf. What I DIDN'T expect was to obsess over it. To stay up until 3 am trying to finish it. To email the author fangirling after only 100 pages, so I would be somewhat coherent. To KNOW it would be on my favorites shelf after 100 pages.
I went to bed thinking about it at 3am Thursday. I thought about it all day Friday, even though I didn't read. On Saturday, I was at a family party and my brother got hurt so he wanted to sit in the car with me. I started reading, then he decided he was bored and wanted out. I was super disappointed to stop reading. But when we left a little while later, I continued reading while using my cell phone for light.
Joan's journey was so utterly heartbreaking. It was said perfectly here:
But now, alone, she wept. Death had prevented her reconciliation with too many estranged loved ones. Surely, it was God's punishment for her willfulness.She was an extremely strong woman, much stronger than was expected for the time period. She saw many loved ones die. This wasn't part of the book, but from my own research I know that she outlived her parents and all but one of her siblings. She had many different roles, as princess, as queen, and many others. And she faced other hardships I can't even tell you about.
The writing was phenomenal. I could see where Joan was and feel all of her pain. Even some of the less important characters, I understood them. My heart was with them or my rage. I sat in front of my laptop and read for three hours. I NEVER do that. Ever. But I was so sucked into Joan's world, I didn't want to be anywhere else.
If I could talk about all of the other characters in this book my review would never end! Joan's father could be a very gentle man at times, but at others he was so cruel. Her mother was as steadfast and stubborn as any character I've ever seen, and certainly one of the most intelligent. And her brothers! The eldest was always seen as nasty, and her third eldest brother, Geoffrey, was kind of left out but we still knew he wasn't the best of brothers. Richard and John, oh those boys. I can't tell you about the either.
I don't think there WAS a flaw in this novel. It was so beautiful and there was action and romance and Joan might very well be one of my new favorite characters. I just wish there was more out there for me to read on her.
Susan has gained a fan for life. I will read pretty much anything she decides to publish, even if it's about a flying car that speaks Japanese and time travels to the 1800s.
Also, this cover? Makes my Top 10 of the YEAR.