Eleanor of Aquitaine

Writing for Joy: Eleanor and Caroline

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012 | Eleanor of Aquitaine, Joy, Regency Romance, The Writing Life | No Comments

One of the reasons I write is for joy. It’s what drew me to Eleanor of Aquitaine, and it has drawn me to Regency romance. There is such a wonderful feeling of pleasure to open a new Regency novel, to see how an author will take an old formula and change it to suit herself, and more importantly, to suit her characters and her readers. Like haiku, there is freedom in a set score, in a standard way of doing things.

And like most Regency authors, I’ve taken a lot of liberties with the pattern. Like my favorite historical woman, Eleanor, Caroline is no cringing maiden. She rides a stallion, just as Eleanor does, though women of her class should not. She rides astride like a man, wearing breeches as she explores the wilds of Yorkshire. Like Eleanor, Caroline has a father who lets her live as she pleases, and like Eleanor, her father arranges her marriage.


Once Caroline marries, she hits the wall of reality, just as Eleanor did when she encountered Louis for the first time. But Caroline does not stop riding out on her stallion. She does not let the limits her husband would place on her slow her down. Instead, she sets her mind to finding ways around them, and finding ways to tame her husband, even as her heart begins to be tamed by him.

In this version of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW, there is no constant warfare of manipulation, there are no scenes of starvation and sleep deprivation. In this version, Caroline and Anthony learn to live together as equals, as Louis and Eleanor never did.

So here’s to the joy of Regency romance, the form and the function. Here’s to its flexibility, and to the supple grace it allows its authors and its readers. And here’s to the joy of writing fiction, the play of words and the clash of characters. Where would we be without them?

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Quote of the Week

Friday, April 13th, 2012 | Eleanor of Aquitaine, Quote of the Week, Quotes, Random Thoughts | 2 Comments

“A man’s character is his fate.”  Heraclitus

At first glance, this quote sounded a little strange. But when I really began to think about it, especially as a writer, it became more and more clear to me. My characters take action based on who they are, on their belief system, on their perceived place in the larger world. Their thoughts and values shape their actions. Given a certain set of circumstance, because of who she is, Eleanor of Aquitaine is going to react in a certain way. When challenged, Eleanor will fight back. Or she will withdraw, not out of a need to surrender, but out of a need to regroup, so that she can win another day.

Character is fate. We are not who we are, but what we do. What we do builds our fate, once choice at a time.

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Eleanor of Aquitaine on Medieval Archives

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012 | Eleanor of Aquitaine | No Comments

Medieval Archives: Illuminating the Dark Ages for the Digital World

Thank you to Medieval Archives for inviting me to talk about my favorite person, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Here is a podcast about my experience of becoming a published author and my ongoing love affair with Eleanor and her dysfunctional family…


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Juggling Worlds: A Fiction Writer’s Adventure

Friday, December 16th, 2011 | Eleanor of Aquitaine, Regency Romance, Shakespeare in Love, The Writing Life | 5 Comments

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This week I have had the pleasure of living in two worlds: the world of Eleanor of Aquitaine and the world of Regency England. As I write the Regency romance series Shakespeare in Love for Sourcebooks, I find myself immersed daily in a past that I have visited often as a reader, but only now have come to live in as a writer. I have been exploring the challenges of bringing Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew to life in a new way and in a new setting, this time in Regency England just after Bonaparte has been defeated and my hero returns from the war. Anthony Carrington comes home to an arranged marriage to a woman he likely would have never chosen for himself.  Caroline Montague, the daughter of his commanding officer, will be left penniless and alone upon her father’s death if Anthony does not marry her. He agrees to take her on, in spite of her wild ways, and a great deal of Shakespearean fun ensues.

Of course, in his efforts to control and dominate his bride, Anthony does not resort to starvation as Petruchio does in The Taming of the Shrew. And Caroline does not conform to her husband’s demands, but struggles to be accepted as an equal, something unheard of at the time. So needless to say, I am having a ball mediating between these two, knowing always that true love will triumph in the end. One of the wonderful blessings of romance.

The second world I have been living in is, of course, Eleanor of Aquitaine’s. True love does not win in Eleanor’s world, and power, the by word of Eleanor’s life,  is almost always elusive. This week I had the pleasure of answering questions about Eleanor and her world for RT Book Reviews. Thinking of Eleanor and reminding myself of all the reasons I adore her, why others adore her as well, is always a joy, and no more so than when people ask me about her. She is an amazing woman with more facets than we fiction writers will ever fully explore.

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It is always a joy to move between the worlds of my fiction, to explore my characters’ lives and to take part in their adventures. And there are always more stories shimmering on the horizon, along the edge of the ocean of imagination on which I sail. I look forward always to the next port, the next elusive shore on which I will wash up, only to discover the next story that is waiting to be told.

I have said it before, and no doubt I will say it again. I am a lucky woman indeed.

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To Be Queen Winner

Monday, December 12th, 2011 | Eleanor of Aquitaine, Give Away, To Be Queen | No Comments

I am happy to announce that the winner of To Be Queen on our English Epochs 101 Give Away is





Thank you so much to all who participated. More give aways will be coming up…

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Coming in February 2016…