Monday, October 8, 2012

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot #SisterQueensVirtualTour

Ever since I saw the synopsis of The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot, I felt I had to read it. I have been on more of an historical fiction reading kick for awhile now especially since reading Sandra Byrd's novel To Die For last year so I am fascinated by the Queens that stand behind the Kings.  I think we so often hear the tales of the Kings that I love the authors that are telling the tales of the queens.  Yes I know they are fiction, but I feel the authors are doing the research and telling the stories with an authenticity that at least rings true to me.  Of course as I have stated before I am not a history buff, so please if you are and your read this book and come to a completely different take remember (1) I am not a history buff, I love history, but I am not one who remembers lots of historical facts or periods and (2) I read fiction purely for enjoyement.  So that said I will continue with my review.

Sometimes even after being completely intrigued by a synopsis I get scared when sitting down to a 500-page historical novel.  I think nothing of reading the unabridged version of The Stand, but that is a typical genre for me.  Historical Fiction is still new to me and I still fear I will be bored by facts and what bored me in history class.  So I will admit to putting this one off.  Wow am I sorry I did that.  I was honestly captivated from the very first page as I read the tale of Marguerite and Eleanor, sisters who were in competition at home and then were wed off one-by-one to Kings.  And not just any Kings, but Kings of competing lands, and important kings, the King of France, Louis IX and the King of England, Henry III.  Now I knew absolutely nothing of these kings and not much of this time frame but it did not matter.  Ms. Perinot wove the scenery, the courts and the characters together beautifully.  I felt like I was there with Marguerite and Eleanor as they became use to life in distant lands and use to life without each other and without their close family.  Especially Marguerite who was not even allowed to keep her servants.  As Ms. Perinot set the story I felt more and more drawn in and began to not even notice the time passing away on Saturday afternoon, nor the over 250 pages that quickly passed.

Not only is there great character development because we get to know the girls when they are mere teenagers. But there is the intrigue of court.  There are the intracies of marriage.  One marriage starts off beautifully only to be thwarted by her mother-in-law.  The other while the husband seems less than ideal ends up being a more than ideal match.  However I think the thing I liked most besides the romance was watching each Queen observe all that went on around her and manipulate things for the good of herself (not in a selfish way, usually for her husband and children) and her country.  Proving that women have always moved in the background and while Ms. Clinton may have been one of the first First Ladies to do it in this country, but she hasn't been the only woman working to strengthen her man in leadership.  Granted in the 13th century is was much more behind the scenes.

Of course there are problems each must work through or there would not be a plot, but each problem keeps the reader and kept me turning the pages. I was so enthralled by both Marguerite and Eleanor that I had to know how they would fair, would they come out okay, would they live happily or at least satisfactorily through the end?  And where would Ms. Perinot take them next?  The Sister Queens was more than I could have ever asked for in a book and now reigns in my top three historical fiction novels with Michelle Moran's Cleopatra's Daughter and Sandra Byrd's To Die For.  For me that is some great company.  I will be highly recommending The Sister Queens to all of my friends, even ones who don't read historical fiction.  I think it's just a wonderful novel that can appeal to anyone who loves to read.  It has the intrigue of a suspense novel, the romance of a romance novel, the family story of a general fiction or family saga (though not through the generations), it could be a sister novel.  I even think through the historical aspect alone it could appeal to men, though the romance and sister aspect make it more of an appeal to women, but my husband seemed pretty interested when I told him about it last night.  I just can't say enough.  Ms. Perinot has crafted a well-written and well-plotted novel in The Sister Queens and I will definitely be on the look out for her novels in the future.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0

Visit the tour schedule.



Like most sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor were rivals.  They were also queens.

Raised at the court of their father, Raymond Berenger, Count of Provence, Marguerite and Eleanor are separated by royal marriages--but never truly parted.

Patient, perfect, and used to being first, Marguerite becomes Queen of France. But Louis IX is a religious zealot who denies himself the love and companionship his wife craves. Can she borrow enough of her sister's boldness to grasp her chance for happiness in a forbidden love?

Passionate, strong-willed, and stubborn, Eleanor becomes Queen of England. Henry III is a good man, but not a good king. Can Eleanor stop competing with her sister and value what she has, or will she let it slip away?

The Sister Queens is historical fiction at its most compelling, and is an unforgettable first novel.


Sophie Perinot writes historical fiction. In Spring 2012 her debut novel, The Sister Queens, will be released by NAL. Set in 13th century France and England, The Sister Queens weaves the captivating story of medieval sisters, Marguerite and Eleanor of Provence, who both became queens – their lifelong friendship, their rivalry, and their reigns

Ms. Perinot has both a BA in History and a law degree. She left the law to pursue artistic interests, including writing. An avid reader, especially of classic literature, and life-long student of history, it seemed only natural that Sophie should write historical fiction. As someone who studied French abroad and a devotee of Alexandre Dumas, French history was a logical starting point. An active member of the Historical Novel Society, she has attended all of the group’s North American Conferences.

Active among the literary twitterati as
@Lit_gal (a moniker she also uses at Agent Query Connect, Sophie is a regular contributor to the group writers' blog "From the Write Angle" Find her on facebook at
For more information, please visit Sophie Perinot's WEBSITE.  You can also find Sophie on her blog, Facebook and Twitter.

***I received this book through Historical Fiction Book Tours for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***


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