Eleanor of Aquitaine
Eleanor of Aquitaine was indeed a woman worth a biography, even with the scanty details about her life as we have, as a very interesting historical figure of Medieval times between France and England. We do have plenty of information about her life but not about her the woman. Marion Meade makes this up I'm afraid with a lot of personal wishful thinking: where there's not one single physical detail to grab on to, she makes her come to live by inferences from her relationships with other people and by her own way of life. Where no witness can be called on to tell us how she felt, or what were the inclinations of her heart, Ms. Meade fills in the gap with her own stuff, which is not bad stuff if we speak in terms of fiction, even historical fiction. For she moves on swiftly through the myriad of happenings taking place family-wise and historical-wise strictly speaking. We attend the Crusades, we travel throughout most of modern France over and over, we witness battles, family feuds, coronations, the killing of Beckett, and much, much more. All of it interesting enough, and presented as in relation to Leonor's life. So historical facts abound. And it does not become entangled at all (it could easily have been). But I'd rather have made up the gaps myself. I think an honest historian needs to draw the line clearly between what we know and what we assume. Mixing fiction and history doesn't help credibility. Of course the creative facet of the author only operates on the deeply personal level; historical facts are not messed with. But nevertheless, when I am reading history I'd like the author to stick to the facts, and whatever incursions into fictional territory I'd like to be -at least- warned. Its a good read, though; a bit too long, but makes for a good history read.