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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by…

A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver (original 1973; edition 1973)

by E.L. Konigsburg

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Title:A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
Authors:E.L. Konigsburg
Info:Athenium, 1973. First Edition. Ex-library.
Collections:Your library

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A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver by E. L. Konigsburg (1973)


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Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife of two kings and mother of two more, is waiting to see if her second husband, Henry II of England, will be allowed into heaven. Although this book gave me a much clearer insight into the characters of the time, I did feel that it was a bit simplistic. I’d like to read a more thorough biography of Eleanor. [Feb. 2010] ( )
  maureene87 | Apr 4, 2013 |
Another childhood favorite. I remember checking this book out of my local branch library multiple times. Eleanor of Aquitaine waits in Heaven to see if her much beloved -- and much warred with -- husband Henry will be released from Purgatory. While she waits, she reflects on her life.

My first look at European history came with this book. Although I've read more about Eleanor and Henry since then (and who could forget Lion in Winter?), and this version is tailored for a young audience, I still recall this version of her. It contains the conflict, the difficulties, and the wonders of that period in history, and of this very unique woman. ( )
  Murphy-Jacobs | Mar 30, 2013 |
As vivacious Eleanor of Aquitaine, a real-life queen of 12th-century England and France, awaits the arrival of her husband Henry into Heaven, she and three acquaintances recall her remarkable life on earth. After a brief but slowly-paced beginning that sets up the Heaven framework for the story, each section of Eleanor's life gallops along as it's recalled by one of her friends in a Chaucer-esque tale. Historical fact and believable fiction blend as Eleanor weds and divorces Louis of France, and then weds Henry of England, creating rebellions, setting standards of culture, and proving that women can rule kingdoms along the way. Per the end matter, all characters in the story were real people. Occasional black and white drawings accompanied by calligraphy add to the medieval feel. The royal courts were known for foul play and much dalliance, but Konigsburg adeptly navigates the scandal while keeping the intrigue. As a sort of "literary biography," this would be an excellent short novel to pair with a more formal biography for a project aligned to Common Core standards. Recommended for grades 4-8. ( )
  jessicaschmidt917 | Nov 28, 2012 |
Really enjoyed this look at the lives of Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th and 13th centuries. I had read about them in high school history class, but Konigsburg really brought them to life. I am looking forward to reading more of her historical fiction. ( )
  bearette24 | Sep 19, 2012 |
A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver tells the story of Eleanor of Aquitaine, that striking queen who married two kings, ruled two countries, gave birth to three kings, was imprisoned by her husband for sixteen years, and who, in this tale, is now in Heaven recounting the events of her life to pass the time.

E. L. Konigsburg has long been celebrated as one of the more versatile and creative authors in young adult fiction, and this story is no exception to her skill. In her hands Eleanor emerges as an extravagant, intelligent, strong young woman, full of personality and passon, who had no hesitation about what she wanted and how to get it. Eleanor tells some of the story, but much is also told by her mother-in-law Matilda, the Abbot Suger, and William the Marshall.

I remember studying Chrétien de Troyes in college; well, Eleanor was his patroness. Everything is connected eventually for those of us who study English! Chrétien de Troyes wrote poems and romances based on Arthurian legends, and "cleaned up" the stories to make the knights bolder, the ladies more beautiful, the deeds more heroic. All of this was connected with Eleanor's famous "Court of Love," which gave shape and momentum to the chivalric tradition. Although historically there is some question as to the real weight and importance of the Court of Love, Konigsburg clearly takes Eleanor's side, writing that she is the reason that men open doors for women to this very day. It's funny that what many modern feminists regard as degrading began as the philosophy (quite opposite that of the rest of the world at the time) that man was entirely the property of woman.

Of course this is Eleanor's story written for young readers, and though certain inappropriate things can't be entirely ignored (like Henry's philandering, especially with Rosamund Clifford), Konigsburg glosses them as best she can. Nor can you get around the sixteen-year imprisonment... even for royalty, that's a rather unusual domestic arrangement. And sometimes life just wasn't pleasant back then; Eleanor's son Richard died of the infection from an arrow would in the shoulder, after his surgeons dug around unsuccessfully in his shoulder to remove the arrowhead. Ugh...

Of course the story is a dreadful theology of Heaven and Hell, a caricature of Roman Catholic beliefs (everyone spends some time in Hell before being admitted "Up", and being "Up" translates to boredom for the feisty Eleanor). But, taking it as a fictional frame only, I like it. It gathers all the main players in Eleanor's life and allows them to tell their part of her story.

All in all, this is an enjoyable introduction to one of history's most fascinating women. Recommended. ( )
3 vote wisewoman | Oct 23, 2011 |
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For Manci and for David,
who taught me freedom from its two directions.
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During her lifetime Eleanor of Aquitaine had not been a patient woman.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
While waiting in heaven for divine judgement to be passed on her second husband, Eleanor of Aquitaine and three of the people who knew her well recall the events of her life.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 068984624X, Paperback)

Eleanor of Aquitaine, wife to two kings, mother to two others, has been waiting in Heaven a long time -- eight centuries, more or less -- to be reunited with her second husband, Henry II of England. Finally, the day has come when Henry will be judged for admission. While Eleanor, never a patient woman in life or afterlife, waits, three people, each of whom was close to Eleanor during a time of her life, join her. Their reminiscences do far more than help distract Eleanor -- they also paint a rich portrait of an extraordinary woman who was front and center in a remarkable period in history and whose accomplishments have had an important influence on society through the ages.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:35:32 -0400)

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While waiting in heaven for divine judgment to be passed on her second husband, Eleanor of Aquitaine and three of the people who knew her well recall the events of her life.

(summary from another edition)

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