Four Sisters, All Queens
Rich in intrigue and scheming, love and lust, Sherry Jones’s vibrant historical novel follows four women destined to sway the fate of nations and the hearts of kings. . . .
Amid the lush valleys and fragrant wildflowers of Provence, Marguerite, Eléonore, Sanchia, and Beatrice have learned to charm, hunt, dance, and debate under the careful tutelage of their ambitious mother—and to abide by the countess’s motto: “Family comes first.”
With Provence under constant attack, their legacy and safety depend upon powerful alliances. Marguerite’s illustrious match with the young King Louis IX makes her Queen of France. Soon Eléonore—independent and daring—is betrothed to Henry III of England. In turn, shy, devout Sanchia and tempestuous Beatrice wed noblemen who will also make them queens.
Yet a crown is no guarantee of protection. Enemies are everywhere, from Marguerite’s duplicitous mother-in-law to vengeful lovers and land-hungry barons. Then there are the dangers that come from within, as loyalty succumbs to bitter sibling rivalry, and sister is pitted against sister for the prize each believes is rightfully hers—Provence itself.
From the treacherous courts of France and England, to the bloody tumult of the Crusades, Sherry Jones traces the extraordinary true story of four fascinating sisters whose passions, conquests, and progeny shaped the course of history.
Reviews and Testimonials
Beatrice of Savoy, Countess of Provence (1205–65) was determined to raise her daughters to advance the House of Savoy, and how better to do so than to arrange marriages with that goal in mind? In this entertaining novel, Jones (The Jewel of Medina) tells the story of four sisters who became queens—Marguerite (France), Eleanor (England), Sanchia (Germany), and Beatrice (Sicily). All were married young, none had any say in their marriages, and their lives, told here in alternating chapters, were eventful. The author does a good job not only of conveying the very different personalities and circumstances of the sisters but also of showing how little power these queens often had over the things that mattered most to them. Family trees help to keep track of the large number of characters.
Verdict Fans of historical fiction about European royalty (e.g., Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl) should enjoy this well-written novel set during fascinating times. The relationship among the sisters is believable and often heartbreaking.—Elizabeth Mellett, Brookline P.L., MA