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Four Queens


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About the Author

Nancy Goldstone has written and coauthored several books, including Four Queens. She lives with her husband and co-author Lawrence Goldstone in Westport, Connecticut.


Bibliophile and novelist Goldstone (coauthor, The Friar and the Cipher) has spent much of the last decade writing books with her husband, Lawrence Goldstone. Their shared output revolves mainly around their experiences as collectors of rare books and manuscripts. Goldstone has chosen a new direction for her first solo title in almost ten years. She takes us back to the 13th century with an interesting and entertaining treatment of the four daughters of the count and countess of Provence-Marguerite, Eleanor, Sanchia, and Beatrice-whose marriages resulted in their becoming queens of France, England, Germany, and Sicily, respectively. There are not many modern biographies of the sisters; Beatrice and Sanchia in particular have received very short shrift, which makes a title that presents their stories intertwined all the more absorbing. While this work is more riveting narrative than scholarly history, Goldstone does draw heavily on modern publications of primary sources, including period correspondence and the work of well-known chroniclers of the age, such as Matthew Paris and Jean de Joinville. Recommended for academic and public libraries wishing to expand their women's history holdings.-Tessa L.H. Minchew, Georgia Perimeter Coll., Clarkston Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

The four beautiful, cultured and clever daughters of the Count and Countess of Provence made illustrious marriages and lived at the epicenter of political power and intrigue in 13th-century Europe. Marguerite accompanied her husband, King Louis IX of France, on his disastrous first crusade to the Holy Land, where straight from childbirth she ransomed him from the Mamluks. And with her sister Eleanor, queen of England, Marguerite engineered a sturdy peace between France and England. Ambitious Eleanor walked a narrow line while she struggled to build her own power base without alienating her cowardly husband, Henry III. Beatrice's coronation as queen of Sicily was the culmination of her long, hard-fought campaign to earn respect from her world-famous, mightily accomplished older siblings. Sanchia wed one of the richest men in Europe, but her reign as queen of Germany, brought her only misery. On Goldstone's (coauthor of The Friar and the Cipher) rich, beautifully woven tapestry, medieval Europe springs to vivid life, from the lavish menus of the royal banquets and the sweet songs of the troubadours to the complex machinations of the pope against the Holy Roman Emperor. This is a fresh, eminently enjoyable history that gives women their due as movers and shakers in tumultuous times. Illus., 4 maps. (Apr. 23) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"A wonderful book about four remarkable women . . . An utterly compelling read."
-Alison Weir, author of Eleanor of Aquitaine

"A densely woven narrative of sibling rivalry, simmering resentments, and thwarted ambitions. . . . Times change but not, it seems, sisterly love."
-Dr. Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire "Remarkable . . . told with all the verve and aplomb and richness of detail that four such extraordinary women deserve."
-Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome "Goldstone weaves a vivid tapestry worthy of her subjects."
-Entertainment Weekly "On Goldstone's rich, beautifully woven tapestry, medieval Europe springs to vivid life. . . . This is a fresh, eminently enjoyable history that gives women their due as movers and shakers in tumultuous times."
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)

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