Wednesday, March 14, 2007

"Power of a Woman"

I don't often do book reviews, but this one is really, really good.

"Power of a Woman" brings us an "autobiography" of Eleanor of Aquitaine that is accessible and entertaining! Eleanor was Medieval Europe's most interesting woman. In an age when women were considered a necessary evil, and expected to bear sons and be quiet, she defied tradition.

She married two of the most powerful men in Europe, and birthed several more.

She went on Crusade.

She ruled vast territories.

She created a definition of love that survives to this day.

Telling her story in Eleanor's voice, Robert Fripp shows us Medieval Europe through her eyes: Crusades, wars, enmities, alliances, eternal subterfuge. Fripp's vision brings the very stones and glass of cathedrals and castles to life. History becomes a tapestry which Eleanor works, stitch by stitch. At eighty-one, she hasn't much time. We feel her urgency, the ache in her knees, the chill in her bones. Will she finish before she dies? Her sorrow of lost love, lost children, lost time is as real as the triumphs of her extraordinary life. Eleanor emerges as a woman of great wisdom, dearly won. A real woman, with a strong sense of her place in this life and the next. What a great read! This is so gripping. I got so totally caught up in this story one night that I woke up with images of Eleanor in my mind, and Kate Hepburn's voice in my ear.

I love this story.


  1. Thanks for the tip! I adore Eleanor of Aquitaine, and The Lion in Winter is one of my favorite movies and has one of my favorite movie/play quotes: "I know, I know you know, I know you know I know, we know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. We're a very knowledgeable family." My sister and I often joke about being a knowledgeable family. I will definitely check out this book.

  2. "Of course he has a knife; we all have knives. It's 1183 and we are brbarians!"

    "I'd hang you from the nipples, but it might embarrass the children."

  3. I will definitely read this one. I am a slut for European history. Eleanor is one of the best. I can't remember the name of the last one I read about her. Such is life when one's brain is a sieve.

  4. Neither can I. Of course, it wasn't as good as this one.