The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland

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Eleanor of Aquitaine seized hold of life in the 12th century in a way any modern woman would envy!

1151: As Duchess of Aquitaine, Eleanor grew up knowing what it was to be regarded for herself and not for her husband's title. Now, as wife to Louis VII and Queen of France, she has found herself unsatisfied with reflected glory-and feeling constantly under threat, even though she outranks every woman in Paris.

Then, standing beside her much older husband in the course of a court ceremony, Eleanor locks eyes with a man-hardly more than a boy, really- across the throne room, and knows that her world has changed irrevocably...

He is Henry D'Anjou, eldest son of the Duke of Anjou, and he is in line, somewhat tenuously, for the British throne. She meets him in secret. She has a gift for secrecy, for she is watched like a prisoner by spies even among her own women. She is determined that Louis must set her free. Employing deception and disguise, seduction and manipulation, Eleanor is determined to find her way to power-and make her mark on history.


About Cecelia Holland

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Born in Henderson, Nevada, Cecelia Holland was educated at Pennsylvania State University and Connecticut College, where she received her B.A. degree. She has served as a visiting professor of English at Connecticut College since 1979. Holland's historical novels have received broad critical acclaim. According to one critic, she "proves that there can be more to historical thrillers than swordplay and seduction." (Time) Among her novels is City of God (1979), which is set in Rome during the period of the Borgia family. Told from the point of view of Nicolas, a secretary to the Florentine ambassador to Rome, this novel brings to life the period of the Renaissance, including the political intrigue that characterized Rome at the time. Other works include Until the Sun Falls (1969), a story of the ancient Mongols and their empire, The Firedrake (1966), her first published novel, Great Maria (1974), The Bear Flag (1990), and Pacific Street (1991). Holland is very adept at capturing the period she writes about, including the clothing, furnishings, and customs of the time. One critic has noted that Holland "is never guilty of the fatuity which plagues most historical fiction: she never nudges the reader into agreeing that folks way back then were really just like you and me, only they bathed less often.
Published July 22, 2010 by Berkley. 370 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Secret Eleanor


Most of the novels surround her marriage to King Henry II, their tumultuous relationship, their many children who rebelled against their father, Thomas Becket, and Henry's imprisonment of Eleanor, but rarely do you see a novel on that time period in Eleanor's life before she became the wife of He...

Sep 17 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Eleanor


Even though I was aware of what the outcome of the events would be, THE SECRET ELEANOR made we want to keep turning pages to find out the resolutions of various situations.

Nov 15 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Eleanor

Deseret News

"The Secret Eleanor" (Berkley, $15), by Cecelia Holland: Queen Eleanor not only rules France as the wife of Louis VII, she is also a duchess with a kingdom in her own right.

Aug 10 2010 | Read Full Review of The Secret Eleanor


The Secret Eleanor - A Book Review - history is a personally written site at ...
Cecelia Holland gives us a unique perspective on the early figure of Eleanor of ...

| Read Full Review of The Secret Eleanor

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