Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Book Tour: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot--Review and {Give@way}

Congrats to Linda for winning the copy of The Sister Queens!

My thoughts:
Almost immediately after beginning this book, I found myself on Google, searching out the names of the kings in the story, Henry III of England and Louis IX of France.  It is always a thrill to be sparked by historical fiction into further research on the historical figures which the story surrounds.  The sister queens, much to my delight, were married to two highly interesting such figures.  Eleanor, who married Henry III, the grandson of my beloved Eleanor of Aquitaine, and becomes the mother of Edward Longshanks, the king who was in power during the time of William Wallace (another treasured figure of mine).  And Marguerite, who married Louis IX, became the grandmother of Philippe IV, whose daughter, Isabella, became the wife of Longshanks' son, Edward II, and was notoriously suspected of plotting the murder of her husband.  You might think this a strange manner in which to begin a book review, but I do this to stress the importance of historical fiction, not only as entertainment, but as a tool for learning.  Good historical fiction will incite the reader to investigate the historical figures coming alive in its pages.  The Sister Queens is one such book.

I enjoy books that build stories around letter writing, what I feel is a lost art in our technical age.  The story of The Sister Queens surrounds the close relationship of these two sisters and the letters they wrote to each other regularly.  The letters that begin each chapter, fictionalized by Ms. Perinot, add an element to the story...a personal voice for each sister so we are not just shown the closeness of their relationship, but experience it first hand in their own words.  It's not hard to believe that the two queens most likely did exchange such letters, as close sisters most likely would in a time when letter writing was the only means of communication.

Not only does The Sister Queens tell an entertaining and well-researched story, it also boasts of characters who are multifaceted and interesting.  Of course, the stars of the story are Marguerite and Eleanor.  The former being calm and level headed and the latter being more stubborn and impulsive.  What is interesting in their story is how both queens learned to take on the traits of the other's personality to help them to smoothly navigate their royal marriages and lives.  It takes intricate knowledge of the relationship between sisters to be able to portray that this is indeed what sisters do.  Being an older sister myself, I can honestly say that adopting some of my sister's traits over the years has helped me in life, much as it did for Marguerite and Eleanor.

Not to be out shined by the sisters are the kings of the story.  I like the way Ms. Perinot did not make them only background characters.  Louis and Henry are very much a part of the story and she made them interesting and human...and much more than history has depicted, especially in the case of Henry III.  I have become intrigued by these men and their lives and I'm looking forward to doing some further reading on them both.

The Sister Queens is an amazing debut novel.  Telling a story about history in a way that only the best historical fiction does, this book belongs on the shelf of anyone who loves the genre, and even those who are not regular readers of historical novels.  I am looking forward to the future works of Ms. Perinot.


About the book:
Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals. They were also queens.

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.


About the author:
Sophie Perinot writes historical fiction. In Spring 2012 her debut novel, The Sister Queens, will be released by NAL. Set in 13th century France and England, The Sister Queens weaves the captivating story of medieval sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens – their lifelong friendship, their rivalry, and their reigns

Ms. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. She left the law to pursue artistic interests, including writing. An avid reader, especially of classic literature, and life-long student of history, it seemed only natural that Sophie should write historical fiction. As someone who studied French abroad and a devotee of Alexandre Dumas, French history was a logical starting point. An active member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences.

Active among the literary twitterati as @Lit_gal (a moniker she also uses at Agent Query Connect www.agentqueryconnect.com), Sophie is a regular contributor to the group writers' blog "From the Write Angle" http://www.fromthewriteangle.com. Find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/sophie.perinot.author.

For more information, please visit Sophie Perinot's WEBSITE. You can also find Sophie on her blogFacebook and Twitter.

For other stops on this Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour, visit the TOUR SCHEDULE.
Twitter Event Hashtag: #SisterQueensVirtualBookTour

GIVEAWAY:  To enter for (1) copy of The Sister Queens (U.S. Only), please leave a comment telling me which historical novel(s) has prompted you to do further reading/research on the historical figures in the book(s).  Please be sure to leave a contact email so I can notify the winner.  Giveaway will end on Tuesday, April 10 at 11:59pm CST.  Good luck!

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Reading Challenges:










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FTC Disclosure:  I received a copy in conjunction with a book tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book tours and in exchange for an honest review.  I received no monetary compensation. 

16 comments:

I apologize for word verification, but I turned it off and had close to 50 spam comments within 12 hours (nobody has time for that) so I had to turn it back on. Sorry!

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  1. Thanks so much for offering the giveaway and review! I really like reading others' thoughts on books before I read them, especially when the book is from an author I've never read before.

    Hmm...let's see, historical fiction novels that prompted me to do research on the historical figures discussed in the novel. That actually happens to me a lot, as I like to compared what really happened with the author's fictionalized version. Some recent novels that triggered further research include:

    The Flower Reader by Elizabeth Loupas (Mary, Queen of Scots)
    The Darling Strumpet by Gillian Bagwell (Nell Gwyn)


    -Amanda
    amandatheaker(at)gmail(dot)com

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  2. The book that inspired me was Vision of Light by Judith Merkle Riley. I loved her trilogy I then went on to read In pursuit of the Green Lion. I love her books. Although I have yet to read The Water Devil. I loved the first 2!
    I want to read this book, thanks for the giveaway!
    Krista
    bookreviewclub@yahoo.com

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  3. Nearly every HF novel I read sends me to Wikipedia for further research. Most recently a book about William Wallace (The Forest Laird) prompted research on him and on Robert the Bruce. I'm anxious to read The Sister Queens; I'm glad you mentioned the letter writing that opens each chapter - that is a device I enjoy. Thanks for the giveaway.
    lcbrower40(at)gmail(dot)com

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  4. This book has been on my wish list for a while!
    The most recent book I stopped while reading to google something was A Duty To The Dead by Charles Todd. It's a mystery that takes place in WWI era England. I've done the same while reading Susan Higginbotham's historical novels.
    Thanks for the chance to win!
    meah56 AT gmailDOTcom

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  5. The Heretic Queen - SO good!

    bethsbookreviewblog2 AT gmail DOT com

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  6. Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time has mad all Richard III literature an instant lure.

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  7. I would love to read this one.

    I actually read a book called The Mistress of the Sun King that had me looking up things about Louis the Fourteenth. Carolyn Meyer's The Bad Queen got me interested in Marie Antoinette.

    andreag (@) earthlink (dot) net

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  8. I absolutely loved this novel. It'll be one of my favorites this year. An author who can give you a lot of historical happenings along with keep your attention in a captivating story is perfection to me. Sophie is definitely an author I'll be watching!

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  9. Actually almost all of them do, even if it's just a quick Google search to find out more about the real person the character is based on.
    I remember the first occurrence, well before the computer age, when I had to search actual encyclopedias for information on Alexander Selkirk, the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe.

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  10. email? what email?
    carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    Thanks!

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  11. A few year ago I read The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simmons. It is about the siege of Leningrad in 1941. I loved it so much and have looked up a lot of information about the former Soviet Union. I am really interested in the time period now. Thanks for the chance to win this book. I just love historical fiction!
    amy dot swihart at gmail dot com

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  12. Thanks for the thorough review. I didn't find it odd to start by saying you jumped immediately to some research. I find myself doing that all the time when I read a period I'm not familiar with. As you point out, it's one of the joys of reading historical fiction.

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  13. Love what you are doing with the blog man!

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  14. Thanks for including your review on the European Reading Challenge.

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  15. Thanks for including your review on the European Reading Challenge.

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