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By Anne O'Brien

Eleanor, Duchess of Aquitaine, is a decided girl who plots and schemes an wonderful direction among both strong males in 12th century Europe, a girl who can manoeuvre and control to shield her personal lands as successfully as any power-grasping lord. Eleanor is single-minded in her fight to maintain her inheritance intact, prime her to reject one husband and take one other who will fulfil her wants. Eleanor intends to reign as Queen and is ready to deliver scandal down upon herself in pursuit of her final prize. Hers is a narrative of strength, political intrigue, ardour and love.

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Yet it is a get together. ’ ‘And it might be flawed of me to not take pleasure in it. ’ He speared a section of the beef on his knife and ate it. yet just one piece, not like my vassals who filled piece after piece into their mouths until eventually they have been sated. possibly, I made the excuse, it was once a response opposed to his father’s gluttony. i couldn't fault him in that. Bernart, my favorite of all my troubadours, sank to his knee ahead of me. ‘I ask permission to sing of your attractiveness, woman. ’ and never anticipating assent, simply because no Aquitanian ever refused a music, he broke into the usual verses. For attractiveness there’s no equivalent Of the Queen of pleasure. I threw a pouch of gold to land at his toes in acknowledgement of his praise, as he slid right into a verse i didn't be aware of. ‘From afar the King has come, come to break the dance. ‘For he fears one other guy may perhaps boldly grab the opportunity to wed the April Queen. ’ So the talented Bernart had written this verse for the occasion—and my middle fluttered a bit on the praise. My troubadour knew my price to the King of France and might broadcast it to the winds. April Queen. I beloved it virtually up to Queen of Joy—and I definitely authorized the concept that i used to be a lot wanted. What girl wouldn't? And so I became to Louis, giggling in stunned satisfaction. ‘Well, sir? Do you love the sentiment? ’ ‘No. i don't. ’ ‘Why no longer? ’ The flat denial astonished me. ‘Any lady will be thrilled with the belief of competitors for her hand. it's the essence of affection. ’ The muscle tissues in Louis’s jaw tightened. ‘I don’t just like the sentiment of getting to grab you up ahead of one other guy forestalled me. ’ I observed his nostrils slim as he inhaled. The corners of his mouth have been tightly tucked in as though the scents of the spiced meats have been unexpectedly distasteful. ‘And i've got feasted sufficient. ’ Casting down his knife, he signalled for a finger bowl. ‘Do you no longer locate it enjoyable? ’ I requested, without warning uneasy, doubtful of his intentions. It looked as if it would me petulant past phrases. Did he wish the dinner party to finish? Did he intend to go away? it'd be some distance too discourteous. to finish my marriage ceremony dinner party now stands out as the peak of undesirable manners. Did Louis now not see that? ‘Not inordinately. now not up to you, it sort of feels. ’ His tender voice had got an facet as he became to stare at once into my eyes. ‘Do you recognize what they are saying of you? The lords at my father’s court docket? ’ ‘Of me? No. What do they are saying of me? ’ ‘Not of you,’ he amended, ‘but of your humans. they are saying that males from Aquitaine and Poitou price gluttony instead of army ability. ’ How patently unfaithful! was once he being intentionally gauche? without doubt he wouldn't be so coarse in his feedback in this day of all days. ‘Is that each one they could locate to assert? ’ ‘They say you’re talkative, conceited, lustful, grasping, incapable of …’ The phrases dried on his tongue, his cheeks flew purple flags, as he by surprise realised to whom he spoke. ‘Forgive me. ’ He seemed down at his dish with its uneaten mess of meat and sauce. ‘I didn't imagine …’ I felt resentment stiffen my backbone. How dared he slander me and my humans on so brief an acquaintance?

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