Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Queen's Daughter by Susan Coventry

Joan’s mother is Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, the most beautiful woman in the world. Her father is Henry II, the king of England and a renowned military leader. She loves them both—so what is she to do when she’s forced to choose between them? As her parents’ arguments grow ever more vicious, Joan begins to feel like a political pawn. When her parents marry her off to the king of Sicily, Joan finds herself stuck with a man ten years her senior. She doesn’t love her husband, and she can’t quite forget her childhood crush, the handsome Lord Raymond.
As Joan grows up, she begins to understand that her parents’ worldview is warped by their political ambitions, and hers, in turn, has been warped by theirs. Is it too late to figure out whom to trust? And, more importantly, whom to love?
A stunningly vivid tale of a young queen’s struggle with duty versus love is beautifully crafted by an a first-time writer but a long-time reader.  Filled with historical detail and true period events, The Queen’s Daughter follows the life and times of Joan, a young royal who knew some of the most powerful and thrilling figures of her time. Being the daughter of King Henry III, however, meant that you would be just another pawn in a giant game of chess. Highlighting a time when kingdoms were won not only by sword and arrow but by marriage, Joan sets out “to do her duty”. Excepting the long road of unhappiness ahead of her, Joan heeds her imprisoned mother’s advice and stumbles through her life without love; but what if the queen is wrong?

Writing history, no matter how creatively fictitious it may be requires lots of research. I was amazed at how detailed and well-rounded the story turned out to be especially–according to the author’s note–if there is not much recorded about our heroine Joan and the span of years Coventry followed. Instead of a story simply about a young royal’s life in the 12th century, Coventry wrote about the meaning and pursuit of happiness in a time when very few were allowed to love. Sometimes, despite the authors best intentions, true historical figures placed on the pages of novels can become lost in the many events that they lived in; however, Coventry plucked Joan out of the chaos and placed her in a spotlight that can be enjoyed by both teens and adults alike. I believe Joan would be truly grateful to have her voice imagined.

Bringing to light the sad, and gritty unhappy lives of the queens and princesses of the dark ages, The Queen’s Daughter holds somewhat of a pessimistic tone. Because of her circumstances, Joan is forced to endure the unimaginable and is often hesitant to receive any kind of true affection which can sometimes turn off reader-character connection. There is a positive side however where readers will be left with nicely written story....and the thankfulness that they do not live in the 12th century! Most of the book flowed evenly along but I did get the feeling that the ending was a bit rushed; I would have also liked to see a little more development between Joan and Count Raymond. Overall, I thought it was a great debut novel and nicely written historical fiction.

Recommendation: Recommend to history fans, ages 14+–I strongly advise this book would be much more suitable to older teens.
Content: PG-13–sexual content & reference, suggested rape.
(Please see more details here)
Buy or Borrow? If you love historical fiction (whether you're a teen or an adult) I would suggest purchasing; however if you don't read h.f. often then the best bet would be your local library.
Cover Talk: Very pretty, but why must you show her face? I have a thing about covers that show the characters face...back of the head fine, but not a touched-up face of a girl who's suppose to be from the 12th century.

|Pages: 373|Publisher: Henry & Holt|Release Date: June 2010|
|Genre: Historical fiction, medieval|
|Content Rating: 3/5|Cover Rating: 4/5| Overall: 4/5|

Review is copyrighted © by Books and Literature for Teens. Thank you Susan.

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