First of all this book has left me emotionally bereft. I am so sad that this trilogy by Elizabeth Chadwick is over. The Autumn Throne is book three. I have reviewed book one, The Summer Queen, and book two, The Winter Crown. I can honestly say hands down that this is one of my favorite historical fiction series ever. I’ll give you the synopsis and then my thoughts. There will be spoilers but these books are based on actual history so I’m not sure a spoiler warning really applies.
The Son She Loved. The Betrayal She Faced. The Legend She Became.
Imprisoned by her husband. Separated from her children. If King Henry II thought these things would push his queen into submission, he was wrong. Eleanor of Aquitaine refused to give into his tyranny. Freed by his death, she became dowager Queen of England. But the competition for land and power that Henry bred among his sons had grown into a dangerous rivalry that Eleanor must skillfully control. Eleanor would need every ounce of courage and fortitude as she crossed the Alps in winter to bring her son Richard his bride, ransom him from imprisonment and deal with his brother John’s treachery. Her indomitable spirit would be tested to its limits as she attempted to keep the peace between her warring sons, fend off enemies, and negotiate a magnificent future for a chosen granddaughter.
*The author spelled Eleanor’s name as Alienor throughout the book to be more historically accurate.
Each book in this series covers roughly thirty year chunks of Alienor’s life so The Autumn Throne is the last thirty years. Over the course of the first two books I really came to love Alienor. This last book was just heartbreaking because Alienor sees almost all of her children die, including her favorite son, Richard. She does get to know a few of her grandchildren and even chooses one, Blanca, to marry the future king of France. This makes the story seem like it has came full circle because these books started with Alienor marrying a French prince at just thirteen. I felt this book concluded the trilogy beautifully and it made me so interested in the real story I had to go do some research on my own. I’m astounded by how accurate Elizabeth Chadwick was when writing these books. My favorite kind of historical fiction is when not only am I entertained but I also learn something in the process. Sweet Alienor died at the end, as was expected, and it was definitely a hard part to read.
If you like historical fiction or just well written books I can not recommend this series enough. I’ll definitely be reading more from Elizabeth Chadwick in the future. Have you read any books by her? If you like historical fiction, what is your favorite book? Thanks for reading and have a great day!