Monday, 22 November 2010

Guestpost and giveaway: Christy English with The Queen's Pawn

Today I have a guest post by Christy English, and at the bottom of this post you will find a giveaway of The Queen's Pawn. And it's open to all. So join in.

Welcome to Mur-y-Castell!

Royal Scandals at the Court of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine
Guest Blog by Christy English, author of THE QUEEN’S PAWN

In my first novel, THE QUEEN’S PAWN, I touch on one of the royal scandals of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine’s court, specifically, King Henry’s relationship with the young French Princess Alais. Alais came to England, betrothed to Prince Richard the Lionhearted, only to become the mistress of his father, the king. THE QUEEN’S PAWN explores the political intrigues and personal pain surrounding this liaison. Needless to say, Henry’s dalliance with the princess was frowned on by his courtiers, his sons, the King of France, and of course, Queen Eleanor.

But the scandals of the royal court of Henry II began even before Henry was king in England. In the year 1151, Eleanor was still Queen of France; she had been married for fourteen years to King Louis VII. Eleanor’s first marriage never produced a son and heir either for the duchy of the Aquitaine or for the kingdom of France. While King Louis seemed content that this was the will of God, Eleanor was not, and she worked for years to arrange an annulment that would set her free from the prison of her first marriage.

And now, we begin to see where the scandal come in: a little less than a year before Eleanor’s annulment was granted, eighteen year old Henry, Duke of Normandy, came to Paris to be confirmed as Duke by his overlord, King Louis of France. Eleanor and Henry met in a moment of instant mutual passion that I wrote about in my upcoming novel, TO BE QUEEN. After Eleanor was freed from her marriage to the King of France in the spring of 1152, in July of that year, Henry and Eleanor met at her palace in Poitiers, and married secretly.

Why marry in secret, you ask? The marriage that allied the great duchies of Normandy and Aquitaine should have been a wedding to rival that of Prince William and Kate. With one major difference: Eleanor and Henry married without their overlord’s permission. Their feudal lord was none other than her ex-husband, King Louis of France.

Once word of their secret marriage reached Louis, he was furious. Jealous and betrayed, Louis rode to war against the erstwhile couple. Henry of Normandy, as great a politician as he was a warrior, managed to make peace with Eleanor’s first husband, though the relationship between Henry and Louis was strained for years to come.

Henry went on to reclaim the throne of England, his rightful inheritance that had been taken by the usurper, Stephen of Blois. Upon Stephen’s death, Henry was crowned King of the English, and Eleanor was crowned Queen. For the first fourteen of their marriage, Eleanor and Henry were happy. Producing a child every year or two, they were allies and partners, working together to maintain the empire that they had created. Stretching from England, Ireland and Wales down to Normandy, Brittany, Anjou and the Aquitaine, no such empire had been seen since the time of Charlemagne. But with two people as strong willed as Henry and Eleanor, the marriage did not stay serene.

The scandal that drove a major wedge between Henry and Eleanor went by the name Rosemund Clifford. A young girl, a mere knight’s daughter, Rosemund has been described as the opposite of Eleanor. Quiet, demure, with soft blonde hair and clear blue eyes, Rosemund was a girl untouched by politics, who owned nothing save the clothes on her back. Henry was charmed by this girl, and set her up in a house of her own near his hunting lodge at Woodstock. But while this house was being built, Henry had the audacity to place his mistress in the royal castle at Oxford. Eleanor, eight months pregnant with their last child, Prince John, journeyed over the Channel in winter to see this Rosemund for herself. When she found the girl tucked away in her own keep, just as the gossips had said, a rift was torn in Eleanor and Henry’s marriage that was never truly made whole again.

Seven years later, Eleanor united with her sons in a rebellion against King Henry, the greatest scandal of Henry’s reign. Henry defeated his sons on the field of battle and forgave each of the boys, but placed Eleanor under house arrest. She stayed locked away until Henry died in the summer of 1189.

Royal scandals in the court of Henry II always had political ramifications, but often rose from personal conflicts. When ruling monarchs square off against each other, the personal becomes political, and once happy partnerships turn into a morass of betrayal.  

Thank you Christy for this great guest post.
And now to the contest

*1 copy of The Queen's Pawn

*Ends November 26th
*Please leave your email if it's not in your profile, or email it to me, Blodeuedd.

*Comment on the post, ask a question or just say you are entering :)

*And I usually do not do this, but if you twitter about this contest, post it on your blog, or something else to spread the word you will get 1 extra point for each thing you do. Just leave links for the things you do. You can come back later to post them.

The Queen's Pawn - Out NOW

Princess Alais of France travels to England to marry Richard the Lionhearted, the son of King Henry II, armed only with her dowry, the valuable Vexin. When Alais arrives in the land of her father’s enemies, she is welcomed by the beautiful and powerful queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Eleanor, the richest and most influential woman in Europe, sees a kindred soul in the young French princess. Intrigued by the girl’s strength and fire, Eleanor adopts Alais as her protégée, teaching the girl what it takes to be a woman of power in a world of men. But Eleanor and Alais’ love for each other is threatened when the capricious and imperious King Henry meets the lovely young princess. Fascination with the king draws Alais deep into political intrigue, and she soon discovers what Eleanor is prepared to do to retain her position as queen. Alais, the one-time pawn, takes ruthless action of her own, as the two women become rivals both for the king’s love and the throne of England itself.

Who is Christy English?

I am a writer of historical fiction centering on Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alais of France, and the Plantagenets of the 12th Century. Look for my novel THE QUEEN’S PAWN from the New American Library, an imprint of Penguin.

My second novel, about Eleanor of Aquitaine’s marriage to Louis VII of France, TO BE QUEEN, will be published by the New American Library in April 2011.

When I am not writing about Eleanor of Aquitaine, Alais of France, and the Plantagenets of the 12th Century, I am at the theatre, visting the Metropolitan Museum of Art or roller skating in Riverside Park in New York City. Join me on my continuing adventures at


  1. Thanks a lot for the giveaway! This book is on my wishlist. I really want to read it.
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you for the giveaway/ This is such a fascinating period in history and I adore Eleanor however ruthless she may be.

  3. I would love to win this :)

    I made a blogpost about it :

    I posted it on my sidebar :

    Tweeter :!/raluk15/status/6719402061856768

    Facebook :

    goodreads Group :

    Shelftari Group :

    raluk.93 at gmail (doT) com

  4. Great post! I enjoyed this book very much.
    To Be Queen sounds like an interesting read as well!

  5. Sounds like a great book but I'm a fan of anything to do with the history of England.
    teawench at gmail dot com

  6. Sounds great! Please sign me in!!
    anto_90_5 (at) hotmail (dot) com

  7. This is on my wishlist too. I would love to read about this side of Eleanor of Aquitaine and her taking Alais of France under wing and then betraying her. This will be such an interseting story!


  8. Thank you for this giveaway-I love historical fiction.

    chocolate and croissants at yahoo . com

  9. Brilliant giveaway! Historical fiction is fast becoming a favourite of mine, and I have such a thing for reading about royalty haha

    Awesome guest post :)

    iswimforoceans at gmail dot com

  10. I love historical fiction and this book looks great! Good interview too! Thx!

  11. What a beautiful cover! Please enter me as well :)

    baychriz at gmail dot com

  12. Great interview and I think your novel sounds great so I would love to be entered in this awesome giveaway!

  13. Great post! Don't enter me though as I have the book. I'm just finishing it up - with everything going on these past months I'm so behind. I just wanted to say I'm really enjoying the book.

  14. this one does sound good...Thank you hon for interviewing Christy, she's an author I've yet to discover...please enter me into the giveaway.


  15. Not entering, but I'll mention it Friday!

  16. Roller skating yeah! I love that! Of course I enter the competition with little chances but it doesn't matter!

    About Eleanor and her second, clandestine marriage: there was also another reason. Her first royal marriage was annulled on 11 March 1152, on the grounds of consanguinity within the fourth degree. As soon as she arrived in Poitiers, Eleanor became engaged to the twelve years younger Henry II, Duke of the Normans, her cousin within the third degree.

    Hypocrisy pure and simple.

  17. Misha
    Good luck!

    She is sure fascinating, can't wait to read more about her.

    Thanks :)

    It sure does

    Awww good old England

    Annie :)

    The stuff of legends ;)

    Cute icon!

    Oh yes royalty, they always have something going on ;)

    Thanks Jaque

    I do love the cover

    Amused :)

    Can't wait for your thoughts then

    I do love finding new ones too

    Thanks Chris!

    Lol, I know, well she had to say something, though I would have picked something else ;)

  18. Thanks again Christy!
    I loved the post, those scandal makers ;)

    This book made me so curious about Henry, since it is not the first book I read about him where he has a mistress. What kind of man was he really, hm.

  19. Oh, it does sound really interesting!
    I do love hostorical fiction and Historical romances and sadly it's been a while since I last read a book of this genre!
    This seems like the perfect book to get back on the horse! :P

    I'd love to enter.

    I tweeted it:

    Posted it on FB

    And my blog:

    - Kelly

  20. Great giveaway!
    Would love to win!

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  21. This is a period of history that I never tire of reading!

    Thank you for sharing.


  22. Thanks for making it international :)

    emi3mle at yahoo dot com dot au

  23. Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win this book! Thanks.
    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

    GFC follower

  24. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  25. Help! I just got a comment from you posted on my blog that I won a giveaway from you. Is that right or...? I emailed you.

  26. I'd love to enter!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  27. Very interesting description! Makes me wonder if the love is sisterly, friendly or other...
    please count me in as someone who is intrigued with this read!
    vvb32 at

  28. Tantalizing! I've heard great things about this book -- thank you for the giveaway!

    unabridgedchick at

  29. Good luck all!

    And BookDog, The Hollick book is on its way now :)

  30. Thank you all for entering the give-away...and Blodeuedd, thank you for hosting me on your lovely site...

  31. Re-posted your contest at:

    Goodluck everybody!!

    (not an entry)

  32. would love to read this novel...thanks for the opportunity :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  33. I am reading The Sunne in Splendour at the moment and really enjoying the different POV about Richard the 3.

    THis sounds like a good book to follow on my historical journey.

    Please enter me in the giveaway.


    Carol T

    buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

  34. Great giveaway:) Count me in please!


  35. Great giveway. Thank you!

  36. My mom is a great historical fiction fan and this would be a perfect Christmas gift for her, I'm sure she'd enjoy it very much :-) (and then I could also get to it and read it ;-p)

    Please count me in.

    +1 tweeted here:

    +1 posted on Facebook:

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  37. Thanks for this nice giveaway, I hope I win.

    annabell_lee_dk (at)

  38. Tweeted:

    annabell_lee_dk (at)

  39. Blogged:

    annabell_lee_dk (at)

  40. Sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  41. sounds very enticing . I would like to read it .

    tumblemumbo at
    thank you

  42. The royals of today look bland and uninteresting compared to these people!

    Please enter me in the contest. Thanks!

    anneb_in AT yahoo DOT com

  43. I love historical novels, and I haven't yet read this one. Thanks for the chance!

    spamscape [at] gmail [dot] com

  44. I love these historical fiction novels. This one sounds fascinating.

    Debbie W.

    dawhittemore22 at gmail dot com

  45. Would love to win this. Sometimes I think I get obsessed with the idea of royalty, and the fascinating people involved in royal history.
    jhbalvin at gmail dot com

  46. Great giveaway! Thanks for the chance!

    tabbylewis (at)

  47. Thank you so much for the giveaway!

  48. I love stories about Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine.

    I posted to my sidebar
    I tweeted!/EVA_n_essence/status/8747749226848256[@]gmail[.]com

  49. I haven't read a historical in a while, this one looks great. I would love to win this!

    ahappybooker at gmail dot com

  50. sounds like a great read!

  51. This would be the first book I've read of this kind (I mean those times, queens and kings, etc...) :)



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