By Sophie Perinot
NAL, $15.00, 498 pages
“How typical of men to think that by their brotherly embrace they are the authors of history and fortune,” writes Sophie Perinot in her spectacular debut novel The Sister Queens. “Marguerite and I know better. ‘Tis sisters who shape the world plain and simple.”
Marguerite and Eleanor were as close as sisters come, and even after they both make spectacular matches and move far apart, their love for each other cannot be tamed. Marguerite married King Louis IX and became queen of France. Although married to Europe’s handsomest monarch, Marguerite is ignored by her husband and patronized by his overbearing mother. Eleanor marries a much older King Henry III of England and became his much-adored wife. Her life isn’t all sunshine and rainbows either, and a series of events nearly tear her apart forever from her sister. The novel follows the women from childhood through their 30s and all the ups and downs along the way. This is a true coming-of-age story, a tale of sisterhood, relationships and of timeless womanhood. You will laugh and cry with them, want to scream at times and cheer at others. How could these two amazing characters have been lost to history? Thank you, Ms. Perinot, for breathing life into these amazing women and sharing their beautifully crafted tale with the world.
The Sister Queens is historic fiction at its absolute finest. I simply cannot wait to see what this author does next. She’s already won herself a spot on my list of favorite authors. In all of its colorful prose, deep and eccentric characters, and historical brilliance, this book can be summed up with one word: phenomenal. Brava!
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville