Set against the splendor and scheming of the Middle Ages, this enthralling historical novel brings to life the magnificent Eleanor of Aquitaine, a woman far ahead of her time and one of history’s most extraordinary queens
Tumultuous. Passionate. Timeless. The marriage between Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry Plantagenet was like no other, born of power, politics, and an all-consuming, fiery love. Within two years of their wedding, Henry conquered England and together they ruled a vast kingdom. At first they worked to unify and repair their war-torn lands - before being torn apart by intrigue, adultery, and deadly revenge.
Henry II dreams of enacting a new judicial system, a common law that would help foster peace. But a devastating betrayal by his closest confidante, Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, thrusts Henry into a rivalry that threatens to tear church and state apart. Eleanor, an accomplished ruler in her own right, steps in to help Henry quell the rebellions across their lands. But when she learns of her husband’s secret romance with the fair, young Rosamund de Clifford, it shatters her heart and ignites a bitter vengeance that will engulf their family in treachery and betrayal. As Eleanor takes the side of her sons against their father, these young royals, chafing for power of their own, wreak havoc across the continent, igniting a war whose tragic consequences Eleanor could never have foreseen.
This book was interesting for the most part. Parts of it dragged especially when Eleanor was imprisoned and other people's stories were at the forefront. I have read several books on Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II. The Lion at Winter is one of my favorite movies.
The narrator for this book tries to sound like Katharine Hepburn and does a good job. I hated her characterization of Thomas Becket, he was lispy and very wimpish. Not Richard Burton at all.
The story begins with Eleanor and Henry already a family with Fair Rosamund just around the corner. The author takes a lot of liberties with her death and sorry to say but I can't buy it. This is one reason I can't give it five stars.
The author does great when describing the complicated relationship between Eleanor and Henry. I have no trouble believing in their love even though both have hurt each other over the years. Wonderful job here!
The childrens' complicated relationship is handled quite well also. When you have a strong father and mother and no clear outline for your future it's difficult to act responsibly.
My husband and childrens' bloodline can be traced back to Henry and Eleanor's son John so this is a personal story for me.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
Gilded Cages is the second book recounting the life of Eleanor of Aquitaine; the first, Beloved Enemy, tells of her marriage to Louis of France and the beginning of her life with Henry II; this volume completes her biography. The story is well-known; the main difference from some writers' interpretation is that Thomas a Becket is portrayed very negatively.
Apart from Ms. Jones' excessive fondness for the archaic term "sennight" [a week], which she uses on every occasion she can fit it in, I found this an enjoyable listen, and well read. Falls into the "ripping yarn" category. Recommended, as long as you are not looking for a scholarly work. Some of the episodes are more legendary than documented.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Exquisitely researched and full of detail. My only qualm was the periodic bouts of awkward prose. Certain phrases were very very overused. Otherwise it was a wonderful book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Gilded Cages again? Why?
Yes I love it. I have it on my MP3 player and listen to it as work. I am a lampwork bead maker and design them for pens
Which scene was your favorite?
the whole thing from front to back and all the in between
If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?
You thought you knew the true story - Now you can go between the lines and still want more
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I really liked this book and recommend it highly! Others gave the narrator bad reviews, but I don't think she was horrible. She wasn't the best, but not the worst, either. Great read!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Queen Eleanor and King Henry seem to have a marriage based on love and full of children. However, over time King Henry's male bravado takes the usual course of kings of that era. The story follows their lives which are twisted as Henry becomes infatuated with a young woman, another young woman schemes for power and Eleanor and her sons plot to against Henry.
Well written, good narrators but one big irritant: for some strange reason after a couple of hours the writer finds it necessary to have the characters use the exclamations "God's eyes" and "God's teeth" repeatedly - to the point that I was ready to just scream. These exclamations add nothing, seem senseless, are irritant, distracting and so frequent it really ruins the reading.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful
What made the experience of listening to Gilded Cages the most enjoyable?
I knew nothing of Eleanor of Aquitaine before I read this book. This is a very interesting story that lives up to the saying 'Behind every great man is a great woman'. It was informative, you learnt some interesting facts without any effort. I also loved the use of the period slang.
What other book might you compare Gilded Cages to and why?
The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel had a similar feel, which is not surprising considering it is a the same genera.
Which character – as performed by Elizabeth Jasicki – was your favorite?
All the characters were great.
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
It is a very long book, but I did listen to most of it in one weekend.
I will differently be listening it again during my holidays.
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Intially found it hard to.get into, but so glad I did. Loved the detail and historical fact and the way it was brought to life. Was captured until the very last sentence.