When I’m asked about my favourite historical figures, Eleanor of Aquitaine figures very high on the list. So I was very hyped for The Revolt, written by Clara Dupont-Monod and translated from the French by Ruth Diver. Somehow I managed to read half of it this summer and then forget about it, only to pick it up again yesterday and devour the second half in a single sitting. Eleanor just has that kind of effect.
Massive thanks to Quercus and Netgalley for the eARC, all opinions are my own.
STAR RATING: 4/5 ✶
PUBLICATION DATE: 06/08/20
SUMMARY: Richard Lionheart tells the story of his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In 1173, she and three of her sons instigate a rebellion to overthrow the English king, her husband Henry Plantagenet. What prompts this revolt? How does a great queen persuade her children to rise up against their father? And how does a son cope with this crushing conflict of loyalties? (from Quercus)
OPINIONS: This short novel – just over two hundred pages – is told partially through the lens of Richard Lionheart and partially by Eleanor herself. The Eleanor presented here is sharp, witty, and hungry for power. Spanning the years from the revolt in the early 1170s to her death, The Revolt is very well-researched and captures the atmosphere of the era. Clara Dupont-Monod manages to present the family struggles within the Angevin dynasty both as a product of their time and as thoroughly modern characters that speak to us today.
It is a historical novel in that it puts a compelling narrative above strict adherence to the source material, but crucially manages to evoke the essence of the period. It is a lyrical novel, rather than a thrilling one, but nevertheless one that enthralls the reader. The Revolt is not only beautifully written by Clara Dupont-Monod, but also masterfully translated from the French original by Ruth Diver – work that needs to be acknowledged as it is only through her intermediary that this edition manages to capture the reader.