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Duchess of Aquitaine

A Novel of Eleanor

Margaret Ball

St. Martin's Press

 “Love is for peasants,” Eleanor said. “We make alliances. And I intend to make a very good one.”
 
Beautiful and brilliant, Eleanor is the daughter of the duke of Aquitaine, whose glittering court is the twelfth-century birthplace of courtly love. For all of the duke’s boasts that Eleanor has the brains of a man and the soul of a warrior, everyone knows that a girl of fifteen cannot possibly hold the richest dukedom in France. Everyone, that is, except for her dying father, who insists on leaving Eleanor his most valuable provinces—and making her prey to the first baron who rides in to kidnap her.
            In order to safeguard her lands and her life, Eleanor devises a scheme to marry the heir to the throne of France. But she must learn to be careful what she wishes for. Eleanor’s alliance to Louis VII may be a dazzling one, but her husband is a cautious man, originally intended for the priesthood, whose wit and courage do not  always match Eleanor’s own; and she ultimately finds herself seeking an even greater match with Henry II of England.
            Sweeping from the courts of Paris to the perils of the Crusades, Duchess of Aquitaine gloriously illuminates the life of one of the most powerful, resourceful, and fascinating women in all of history.

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Chapter One

Santiago de Compostela, 1137

Saint James of Compostela looked down approvingly on the glitter of candles about his cathedral. It was Good Friday, a day of mourning, and the high altar was shrouded in black; but there were green branches strewn about the pavement, to remind men that death was only a passage to a fairer world, and there were candles and incense and the twinkle of gold and silver, jeweled reliquaries and gold-plated altar frontals and statues bright with new paint. All of which Saint James approved, for he was not only a Christian saint but also the Lord
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Margaret Ball

  • Margaret Ball, whose previous works include bestselling novels written with Anne McCaffrey, as well as Embeadery, a guide to using classic embroidery stitches in beadwork, lives in Austin, Texas.
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    Duchess of Aquitaine

    A Novel of Eleanor

    Margaret Ball

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    FROM THE PUBLISHER

    St. Martin's Press

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