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The Courts of Love: The Story of Eleanor of Aquitaineby Jean Plaidy
Synopses & Reviews
In the Courts of Love
When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me--my triumphs and most of my misfortunes--was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal--and in many ways their superior--but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner--an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.
I inherited my good looks and fiery passionate nature from my forebears--and my surroundings no doubt played a big part in forming my character, for until I was five years old I lived at the Court of my grandfather, the notorious William IX of Aquitaine, poet, king of the troubadours, adventurer, lecher, founder of the Courts of Love, and the most fascinating man of his day.
It was true that I knew him when he was past his adventuring and had reached that stage when a man who has lived as he had is casting uneasy eyes toward the life hereafter and forcing himself into reluctant penitence; but, all the same, even to my youthful eyes, he was an impressive figure. Engraved on my memory forever are those evenings in the great hall when I sat entranced watching the tumblers and listening to the jongleurs--and most of all hearing my grandfather himself singing songs of his exploits in those days when he was a lusty young man, roaming abroad in search of love. I thought him godlike. He was as handsome as Apollo, as strong as Hercules and as ingenious a lover as Jupiter. I was sure he could assume any shape in his love adventures. All the songs were of beautiful women, mostly unattainable, which seemed to make them more desirablethan they would otherwise have been. Women were glorified in his Court, and when I left Aquitaine and discovered how differently they were treated in other countries I was amazed.
Seated beside him would be the exciting Dangerosa. I had heard her called Dangereuse, which was appropriate. She was tall, statuesque and flamboyantly handsome. He was my father's father and she was my mother's mother; but they were lovers. Nothing in my grandfather's Court followed conventional lines.
My grandfather often sang of how he had ridden into the castle where he found her; and he had fallen in love with her the moment he set eyes on her. She was married to the Viscount of Chatellerault to whom she had borne three children; but that was no obstacle to my grandfather's passion. He abducted her and brought her to his castle--a willing captive--and he set her up in that part of the castle known as the Maubergeonne Tower. Not that her presence was kept a secret. All knew what had happened; and when my grandfather's wife, Philippa--who had been away at the time--returned to the castle to find a rival actually in residence, understandably she left my grandfather forever.
I never knew my grandmother Philippa. She died before I was born, but of course I knew the story of that stormy marriage. My grandfather's affairs were openly discussed and he himself sang of them.
However, I was enchanted by my dashing troubadour grandfather and my merry, wicked grandmother, Dangerosa, living in riotous sin together.
I think my mother was a little shocked and would have liked the household to have been run on more orthodox lines. She was Aenor, daughter of Dangerosa and the Viscount ofChatellerault; as Dangerosa could not be the Duchess of Aquitaine, she decided that her daughter should marry my grandfather's eldest son so that her grandchild could inherit Aquitaine in due course. This was adding to the unconventionality, and I believe even my grandfather hesitated, but he was so besotted with Dangerosa that he gave in.
Very soon after the wedding, to the delight of all, I appeared. No doub
Recounts the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, the twelfth-century queen and mother of Richard the Lionhearted, who generated a family battle that deeply affected the English throne. Reprint. 25,000 first printing.
When I look back over my long and tempestuous life, I can see that much of what happened to me—my triumphs and most of my misfortunes—was due to my passionate relationships with men. I was a woman who considered herself their equal—and in many ways their superior—but it seemed that I depended on them, while seeking to be the dominant partner—an attitude which could hardly be expected to bring about a harmonious existence.
Eleanor of Aquitaine was revered for her superior intellect, extraordinary courage, and fierce loyalty. She was equally famous for her turbulent relationships, which included marriages to the kings of both France and England.
As a child, Eleanor reveled in her beloved grandfather’s Courts of Love, where troubadours sang of romantic devotion and passion filled the air. In 1137, at the age of fifteen, Eleanor became Duchess of Aquitaine, the richest province in Europe. A union with Louis VII allowed her to ascend the French throne, yet he was a tepid and possessive man and no match for a young woman raised in the Courts of Love. When Eleanor met the magnetic Henry II, the first Plantagenet King of England, their stormy pairing set great change in motion—and produced many sons and daughters, two of whom would one day reign in their own right.
In this majestic and sweeping story, set against a backdrop of medieval politics, intrigue, and strife, Jean Plaidy weaves a tapestry of love, passion, betrayal, and heartbreak—and reveals the life of a most remarkable woman whose iron will and political savvy enabled her to hold her own against the most powerful men of her time.
About the Author
\Jean Plaidy is the pen name of the prolific English author Eleanor Hibbert, also known as Victoria Holt and Philippa Carr. More than 14 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Visit MaidensCrown.com to learn which other Jean Plaidy titles are available from Three Rivers Press.
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