A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Koningsburg is a historical fiction that is told from a unique perspective. It is the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, who was the wife of two kings and the mother of three. What is unusual about this book is that Eleanor, along with some friends in heaven, are telling the story of her life. She has been in heaven for five hundred years waiting for her husband Henry II to be judged into heaven. As she waits, she recounts her life with Matilda-Empress, Henry’s mother; Abbott Suger, her first husband’s teacher; and William Marshall, a true and loyal knight, adding to the story.
Eleanor was born in 1122 to William X, the Duke of Aquitaine. Her father died when she was fifteen making her the Duchess of Aquitaine under the care of Louis VI of France. Louis VI married her to his son Louis VII, and she became the Queen of France in 1137. She was not a typical queen. She was very well-educated, beautiful, and head- strong, so Louis VII allowed her to influence his reign. Together they had two daughters, Marie and Alix. Louis was upset that he had no male heirs, and then came the Second Crusade. Eleanor insisted on going with Louis, accompanied by her entourage of 300 women. With her unnecessary requirements of food and clothes, Louis blamed her for the loss of the Crusade. When they arrived home, she asked for a divorce. At first the Pope said no, but they used the excuse of being cousins too close in kin and a new Pope agreed to allow them to divorce.
Within two months Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, grandson of Henry I and heir to the English throne. He was eleven years younger than Eleanor, but she had control of Aquitaine and Poitiers. This marriage shocked Europe and ended the peace between England and France. Henry and Louis fought, and Henry won. Eleanor then gave him several sons which was ironic because that was the reason her divorce from Louis had...