Wednesday, July 28, 2010

DNF: The Captive Queen by Alison Weir

DNF - Did Not Finish!  It happens, although fortunately not often, and when it does I usually know after 50-100 pages that the book is not for me and move on to something else.

This novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II was one I eagerly anticipated reading and expected to be one of this years best reads but two thirds through I suddenly realised I was bored and didn't want to read any more which was not only disappointing but rather distressing as Alison Weir is an author I would normally mention among my favourites. So what went wrong?
Were my expectations too high? ..........I don't think so because they were based on my opinion of her previous books, fiction and non-fiction, which I think are very good. I expected quality writing but I didn't like the short, overly simplistic sentence structure at all , some of the dialogue was awful and there was a lack of background descriptive prose.
Considering that Alison Weir has written a non-fiction account of Eleanor and had the research and knowledge at her fingertips before she began I expected her to produce something with a new perspective or to take an original approach to this very well known story but was only the basics. In hindsight I wonder why she would want to write about this subject at all when she could have chosen from many lesser known figures of the time that readers would be interested in.

So - am I Eleanored out? ................she has always been a popular subject and after over 30 years of historical fiction reading that could be true. I certainly didn't feel that way when I read Devil's Brood last year but I'll admit I need more than a superficial story to hold my interest.

I didn't like the over emphasis on Eleanor and Henry's bedroom exploits. I didn't like it because it became repetitive and repetitive is very, very boring. To me it seemed to be there as make a little book into a big book!

I'm not a nit-picker and I don't look for mistakes and inaccuracies when I'm reading but sometimes they can't be ignored when a queen hands her newborn baby to a wet nurse and then a few pages later puts that same baby to her breast............ouch!!!! Did the author not read over what she'd written ? What happened to editing? Not good.

The Captive Queen was not for me .


  1. I couldn't agree more. I finished, but it was like watching a freight train run amok. Couldn't take my eyes away.

  2. I thought this one was a real stinker as well which was really disappointing since I loved Innocent Traitor and thought The Lady Elizabeth was good as well. I supposed everyone can have a bad day...

  3. I prefer Alison Weir's nonfiction over her fiction. This doesn't sound like a book I'd enjoy either.

  4. Doesn't seem that it was that good in the end. And some editing is always nice if there are mistakes like that

  5. A very bad day, Daphne. :-(