I normally do not read non-fiction stuff at all, but I was very interested in reading a few sample chapters from Sarah Mueller, who is a blogger I have followed for a while! She is one to look out for with the book she is working on!
Honestly, I don’t know much about Eleanor of Aquitaine, but what I read was incredibly interesting! I just can’t get past girls getting married back then at ages 12 and 13… I just think about how immature kids that age are today, but it must have been much different back then.
I have always wanted to live way back in the day, but maybe not that far back after hearing about all the history, but Eleanor was an amazing woman!! Also, she had eight kids with Henry ii!!!!! That’s a lot of kids! I love that she was an intelligent woman that women today should look up to instead of celebrities that really don’t do anything!!
What I liked best about Sarah’s writing was the flow. It was history, but it still felt like I was reading a story along with facts!
What do you like best about Eleanor of Aquitaine?
I like that she was able to take control of her own life after her divorce from Louis VII (of France). At 13, she never really had a choice for who she was going to marry when her father died, that decision was made for her. On Crusade in Antioch, Eleanor was the first to bring up annulling their marriage when Louis would not help her uncle – one of many issues that contributed to her wanting to end the marriage I believe. Though they remained married a few more years, neither contested the annulment when the issue was raised a second time and as soon as Eleanor was safely back in Aquitaine, she is the one who contacted Henry Plantagenet (the future Henry II of England) about a marriage. Whether this was something they had managed to discuss in private when Henry and his father had visited court in Paris, there is no way to know for sure, but it is at least certain that she exercised at least some manner of control in her life, though that would not last throughout the rest of their marriage. She was finally able to really take charge when Henry died and Richard, her favorite son, became king.
What draws you the most to non-fiction?
There are so many truly amazing people in history who accomplished great things. I find reading about real people and places, especially those different from our own, far more fascinating than anything found in fiction.
What got you into blogging?
I had a blog in college that made fun of blogging, actually. My friends and I thought it was hilarious, but that was the about the extent! When I was pregnant with my daughter in 2012-2013, I started reading a lot again, which lead to reviewing briefly on Goodreads. I have always loved to write, and I consider myself an author above all else, second only to my number one career as a mom. Gradually the reviews grew longer and longer, and I decided to give blogging about books a try.
What inspires you to write?
My daughter. This book is for her, she is named after Eleanor of Aquitaine. Ultimately I would to be able to write full time and be home with her, to be able to go on class field trips, etc. That stuff is really hard to do when one is also a teacher for the moment!
What is the most interesting thing you learned while writing this?
The most interesting thing I learned would have to be that we really don’t know very much about Eleanor, truthfully. I first read about her when I was pregnant and perhaps my memory still has not recovered from that period, because it is only now really going back and digging deep into texts and chronicles, how little factual information we have. We don’t even know what she looked like.
What do you have planned to write next?
I would like to continue writing about the Plantagenets, Perhaps something about Eleanor and Henry’s daughters. Also Richard. I think he is very intriguing because for so long he has been built up as this great king, yet he spent very little time in England and basically used the country as his own private bank to finance his Crusade. It pains me to speak poorly of Eleanor’s favorite, but facts are facts.
I am also working on a series of picture books that combine my love of history and a fictional story. The series is about a little girl and her mom and the wonderful places they travel to. If possible, I want to use my own personal photos as some of the illustrations, I have been very lucky to travel to some amazing places and want to share those places not only with my own daughter when she is older, but with other kiddos so they can see that history really is a lot more than a bunch of boring old chronological facts.
What are you currently reading?
Oh geez! A lot! Of course there are the books I am using for research purposes, most of which I have already read previously. I am also one of those readers who has to have multiple books going at once so I can jump around from one to the next. A few currently titles include:
1. The Templars: The Rise and Fall of God’s Holy Warriors – Dan Jones
2. Eleanor of Aquitaine – Jean Flori
3. William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry – Georges Duby
4. Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs: A Popular History of Ancient Egypt – Barbara Mertz
5. Successful Moms of the Bible – Katara Washington Patton
6. Dinosaurs Without Bones: Dinosaurs Lives Revealed by Their Trace Fossils – Anthony J. Martin
7. The First Days of Jesus: The Story of the Incarnation – Andreas Kostenberger
Sarah Mueller is a mother, writer, reader, and educator. She holds both a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Nebraska. Her love of (most) all things Plantagenet began some years ago when she was pregnant; it manifested itself fully the day her daughter Eleanor was born – Sarah is forever explaining that while Eleanor Roosevelt is also extraordinary, her own Eleanor is named for a queen. Her other favorite topics range from the earliest people, to Roman Britain through the Tudor Dynasty. She also enjoys reading about biblical archaeology, US history, pop culture, fashion history, and paranormal experiences. You can find Sarah’s book reviews and more – including future history-related writing projects for both children and adults @ http://allthebookblognamesaretaken.blogspot.com/
Follow Sarah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/SarahsBookNook
Do you know much about Eleanor of Aquitaine?