Thursday, May 8, 2008

Four Queens

When is the last time you read a book  so intriguing that you wanted to take the phone of the hook, ignore the doorbell, and forget about doing anything but reading the rest of the story? Well this might be that book - it was for me and it is not even fiction. 

Nancy Goldstone's, Four Queens: The Provencal Sisters Who Ruled Europe,**** is a beautifully written history that is so fascinating it reads like a novel about four sisters, a clever mother and ambition matched by success. It was the time of knights, crusades, kings, and troubadours in medieval Europe. Each sister made a brilliant match marrying some of the most powerful men of their time (including the Kings of France and of England) , surviving wars, crusades, and rebellions. Their stories are interwoven in the fabric of the thirteenth century. Family disputes over dowries (how many times can a father promise the same castles?), triumphs, heartaches and petty jealousies as they grew into powerful women (all actually became queens) are all duly noted. How they raised families, formed political and social alliances and their lasting impact on the times is also explored in detail. Nancy Goldstone writes with heart and makes the sisters come to life.