Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland

I think most everyone knows of Eleanor of Acquitaine and probably has read a book or two about her. She was Queen of France when married to Louis VII (in this version, he is a terrible pansy who makes no decisions for himself) and later, queen of England when married to Henry d'Anjou, son of Empress Mathilda. This novel begins during her marriage to the pansy and chronicles her love at first sight and supposed extramarital affair with Henry. After having done the horizontal mambo with Henry, Eleanor swears she will be with him and help him take the English throne, but Louis is in her way. Can she obtain an annullment. Better yet, can she hide her growing pregnancy? If not, all her plans will go down the chamber pot mighty fast.

Basically, it's a historical love triangle involving a very horny, lusty queen...

And two men, one the weak king of France...

And one the future king of England with thighs like columns (I will explain)...

This is my first Eleanor of Acquitaine novel. I am grateful to my friend Daphne (do visit her blog: for posting a giveaway for this book on her blog and as a result, allowing me a chance to read it. I actually feel bad for not enjoying it as much as she did but here is why I didn't like it:

"Drawn to that lust in his voice, she reached out to him and they joined again, fierce as leopards, scratching and clawing and roaring at the peak, as if they crushed worlds betwen them. Afterward, his weight still pressing her down, his lance still deep inside her".. yadda yadda... and later.. "His manhood slid slowly from her crevice." and even later.. "she used her shift to wipe his jism from her thighs."

EW. I wanted to read about her leading an army of women.. not wiping jism from her thighs!

And ladies, have you ever thought of your men in the following manner?

"When she thought of him her body grew warm and taut, and she remembered his passionate mouth, his muscular chest with its mat of thick curly, red hair, his thighs like columns, the sword between them that fit her scabbard so well."

Well... (clearing throat..) I do have something good to say about the novel believe it or not tho. I actually enjoyed the twists and deceits involving Eleanor's sister, Petronilla. I found myself applauding them for the cloak and horse switching and little ways they out foxed the court spies and religious men. Claire and the lute player tho... as Eleanor would say, "Bah!" I could have done without that little side story.

And priceless, laugh out loud moment, a quote from Eleanor: "Damn their souls to some deep, hot hell where only men can be - a hole dug with penises!"

Say what?? LOL

Since I won this from my friend's blog, but didn't like it well enough to keep, I will be passing it on to someone who I hope will enjoy it more. Be watching for it on my September Pick-A-Book giveaway.


  1. I"m sorry to hear you didn't like it. I agree the sex in the beginning was rather OTT, but after those couple of scenes, I enjoyed the rest of the story. And I gotta say, I laughed out loud at the "hole dug with penises" line!! That would probably be some sorry place to be for a man - but we all know some who deserve to be there!

  2. That was an odd thing for her to say.. Not very queenly or 1100s. I think I would have enjoyed this more if the women hadn't been so wanton. I found my eyebrows going up quite a few times. I read somewhere that Eleanor led an army of women while married to Louis (against his wishes) and I would have preferred something about that than the love triangle only.

  3. LMAO. I am going to give this a whirl, but will wait for the library copy thankyouverymuch.