Four Sisters, All Queens
Author: Sherry Jones
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: 2012
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . .
Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”
With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.
Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.
From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history.
My review: In the area of Southern Provence, the countess has an illustrious dream of making all her daughters queens. This seems impossible because there are other more suitable candidates to be queens. Yet, the countess strives to make this dream possible by having her husband’s servant Romeo to convince the King of France to marry her eldest daughter, Marguerite. Through Romeo’s charm, the match is made, Marguerite becomes the Queen of France. Marguerite's marriage to France soon trickles down to where all her other sisters become queens too. Eleonore is married to the King of England, and soon Sanchia and Beatrice marry men who will eventually make them queens. However, the mother reminds her girls that family comes first. With their ambition, greed, and own personal struggles, they forget their mother’s advice about helping their sisters.
The author creates a cast of complex and dynamic characters. Each of the sisters are so different. yet, they are both human and flawed. The sisters’ lives are very fascinating and sometimes tragic that I could not help but empathize with them. These sisters grew from naive women to become mature, intelligent, and strong from the trials that they faced. Because Marguerite and Eleonore suffered the neglect of their husbands in their marriage, they turned toward ambition and power as sources of consolation. Because Sanchia’s husband was disappointed in her, Sanchia strove to be ambitious in order to gain her husband’s respect and love. Beatrice wanted to be queen so she could have respect from her sisters. Each of the queens were admirable because they faced their problems with unyielding courage head-on in the face of their adversaries.
Overall, this novel is about family. It is about women striving to have power in a world that is dominated by men. The novel is about the meaning of power and the consequences and sacrifices they made because of it. This novel reads like a soap opera because there is a lot of drama and rivalry between the sisters. However, the novel is very enlightening and thought-provoking because it discusses Medieval issues and thought. This helps make the story become alive. The setting depicted the Middle Ages in a realistic setting. This novel is a great tribute not only to these four fascinating women, but also to women in the medieval period.
This is the author talking about her novel, The Four Queens: