Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Beloved Enemy: The Passions of Eleanor of Aquitaine by Ellen Jones

I read The Fatal Crown by Ellen Jones back when I was fourteen. I remember considering it a rather racy, but fabulously interesting historical fiction novel about a period of English history that I didn't know much about, the battle between Stephen and Maude for the English crown after the death of Henry I. I always meant to read Jones second novel continuing the story through Maude's dauther-in-law, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Now sixteen years later, I have finally read it!

Beloved Enemy, like The Fatal Crown, is a rather racy, but intriguing historical fiction novel. This novel tells the story of the fascinating powerful woman, Eleanor of Aquitaine from girlhood through her marriage to Henry II and the birth of their first few children. The novel switches perspective between Eleanor, Henry II, Thomas Becket, and BelleBelle. BelleBelle is a whore whom becomes the mistress of Henry II and mother of his child.

While I thought the early life of Eleanor was quite fascinating, I was even more intrigued by the story of BelleBelle. The sad downtrodden conditions she was forced to live in and survive were terrible. I was cheering when Henry swooped in and saved her, but sad when things did not quite turn out as I would have liked. Overall BelleBelle and Eleanor were both unique, stronge women who were able to make the best out of circumstances to survive. Eleanor was a unique medieval woman of power that is still remembered to this day.
My only complaint about this book is the fact that is talks about a sequel at the end (which I'm assuming would talk about Eleanor's captive years, Becket's murder, her sons' coming of age), but I can't find it anywhere. As this book was published 14 or so years ago, what gives? Does anyone have any information out there about a sequel? I really want to read it!! Or else, what other books about Eleanor do you recommend?


  1. I just finished this book and was also looking for the sequel. Did you ever find one? Was The Fatal Crown as good as this book?

  2. I never did find a sequel and I loved The Fatal Crown (but it's been 17 years since I read it!!).