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The Falcon's Eyes

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Set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century, the moving story of a spirited, questing young woman, Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the fabled queen she idolizes and comes to know—Eleanor of Aquitaine. A sweeping, suspenseful tale about marriage, freedom, identity, and motherhood, The Falcon’s Eyes not Set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century, the moving story of a spirited, questing young woman, Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the fabled queen she idolizes and comes to know—Eleanor of Aquitaine. A sweeping, suspenseful tale about marriage, freedom, identity, and motherhood, The Falcon’s Eyes not only illuminates a brilliant century and the notorious queen who dominated it, but also brings to life the vivid band of characters whom the heroine encounters on her journey to selfhood. Principal among them, Isabelle’s charismatic, controlling husband, as obsessed by falconry as he is by having an heir. The various settings—Château Ravinour, Fontevraud Abbey, and Queen Eleanor’s exiled court in England—are depicted as memorably as the noblewomen, nuns, servants, falconers, and courtiers who inhabit them. With a series of twists and turns, the story pulses forward as Isabelle confronts one challenge, one danger, after another, until it hurtles to its final, enthralling, page. With the historical understanding of Hillary Mantel and the storytelling gifts of Ken Follett, Francesca Stanfill has created an unforgettable character who, while firmly rooted in her era, is also a woman for all times.


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Set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century, the moving story of a spirited, questing young woman, Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the fabled queen she idolizes and comes to know—Eleanor of Aquitaine. A sweeping, suspenseful tale about marriage, freedom, identity, and motherhood, The Falcon’s Eyes not Set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century, the moving story of a spirited, questing young woman, Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the fabled queen she idolizes and comes to know—Eleanor of Aquitaine. A sweeping, suspenseful tale about marriage, freedom, identity, and motherhood, The Falcon’s Eyes not only illuminates a brilliant century and the notorious queen who dominated it, but also brings to life the vivid band of characters whom the heroine encounters on her journey to selfhood. Principal among them, Isabelle’s charismatic, controlling husband, as obsessed by falconry as he is by having an heir. The various settings—Château Ravinour, Fontevraud Abbey, and Queen Eleanor’s exiled court in England—are depicted as memorably as the noblewomen, nuns, servants, falconers, and courtiers who inhabit them. With a series of twists and turns, the story pulses forward as Isabelle confronts one challenge, one danger, after another, until it hurtles to its final, enthralling, page. With the historical understanding of Hillary Mantel and the storytelling gifts of Ken Follett, Francesca Stanfill has created an unforgettable character who, while firmly rooted in her era, is also a woman for all times.

30 review for The Falcon's Eyes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    This is an old fashioned, linear historical novel set during the high Middle Ages which follows a young woman who eventually becomes close to Eleanor of Aquataine. It’s overly long but the historical detail is compelling and vivid. It seems to be the first of series. I became weary of eyes filling, shining, and glistening with tears.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    When I finished this book, I needed to mull over what I was thinking. Had I gone with my very first impression, I would have told you that there were many problems with this novel, the 'mystery' was easy to figure out, important secondary characters are lost toward the end, and you don't get involved with the Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine until about 65% of this novel. I would tell you that our main character, Isabelle, was (for the times) a willful, dishonest, whiny character that I just couldn't When I finished this book, I needed to mull over what I was thinking. Had I gone with my very first impression, I would have told you that there were many problems with this novel, the 'mystery' was easy to figure out, important secondary characters are lost toward the end, and you don't get involved with the Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine until about 65% of this novel. I would tell you that our main character, Isabelle, was (for the times) a willful, dishonest, whiny character that I just couldn't sympathize with. Her family was mean to the point of unbelievability. After some minor research, I found that an important part of this book was historically incorrect. But this is fiction, is it not? I wonder about the ending too. It really wasn't a true ending (sort of a cliff-hanger in my mind)-I wonder if it was meant to be this way to get us to think or if there will be another book coming? After mulling over this book overnight, I'm going with my first opinion. I was able to finish this book but was unhappy doing so. *ARC supplied by the publisher, author and Edelweiss.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    I was able to read this book early from Edelweiss. The Falcon's Eyes is what I would consider to be the perfect book. The characters, setting, plot, vernacular, and emotion of the book set it apart from other historical novels. While the book is called a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine, it follows after Ben-Hur: the Story of Jesus Christ. The story about Jesus comes from the life of Ben-Hur, and for The Falcon's Eyes, the story of Queen Eleanor comes through the narration of the Lady Isabelle. Thr I was able to read this book early from Edelweiss. The Falcon's Eyes is what I would consider to be the perfect book. The characters, setting, plot, vernacular, and emotion of the book set it apart from other historical novels. While the book is called a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine, it follows after Ben-Hur: the Story of Jesus Christ. The story about Jesus comes from the life of Ben-Hur, and for The Falcon's Eyes, the story of Queen Eleanor comes through the narration of the Lady Isabelle. Through living with Isabelle in her provincial childhood, her strangling marriage, and her freedom in the abbey, Standfiill builds up to the reveal of Isabelle's life with the queen. Isabelle always dreamed of meeting the queen, and it is because of all her life choices that she needed to escape to the safety of the queen's exile. Overall, I could not put this book down. Meeting Isabelle was like meeting an old friend, one who made mistakes I would make, who fought bravely for what she believed in, who cared for those around her, and who wanted a life of purpose and meaning. It was a joy to read this book, and truly sad to put it away. I will have to purchase this book when it becomes available. I commend the author for her in depth research into Queen Eleanor and how she told her story. This book is not for the casual reader, as the 800 page count will scare off some people, but for those looking for a literary gem, this is the book I will recommend to them.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jenn

    As a lover of historical fiction, and medieval history itself, I could not possibly say enough good things about this book. Francesca Stanfill brings the Norman courts of France and England-- as well as the period's monasteries-- in the twelfth century in beautiful, vivid detail. She crafts nuanced, interesting, and sympathetic characters, especially in her protagonist Isabelle, who is both of her time and ahead of it. She chafes against the strictures placed on noble women in her era, but finds As a lover of historical fiction, and medieval history itself, I could not possibly say enough good things about this book. Francesca Stanfill brings the Norman courts of France and England-- as well as the period's monasteries-- in the twelfth century in beautiful, vivid detail. She crafts nuanced, interesting, and sympathetic characters, especially in her protagonist Isabelle, who is both of her time and ahead of it. She chafes against the strictures placed on noble women in her era, but finds moments of meaningfulness and agency in her life nonetheless, fighting for autonomy and expression. Isabelle's journey takes her far and wide, and every setting is rendered so evocatively! This is a beautiful and touching blend of historical research and imaginative storytelling, and I enjoyed every word.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carole

    Frustrating when a book infers it is about one thing and then isn't. Supposedly it was a book about Eleanor of Acquitaine and the reason I wanted to read it. Instead it is a tediously overdone work about a young woman who was, for a time, a companion to Eleanor. Of 800 pages very few included even a dribble of this great queen's life. Frustrating when a book infers it is about one thing and then isn't. Supposedly it was a book about Eleanor of Acquitaine and the reason I wanted to read it. Instead it is a tediously overdone work about a young woman who was, for a time, a companion to Eleanor. Of 800 pages very few included even a dribble of this great queen's life.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sasha (bahareads)

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. I really read an 800-page book for it to end on an opening/cliffhanger?!?! Now that I have got that off my chest let's get to the meat of The Falcon's Eyes The Falcon's Eyes is about Isabelle and how she forges her own path and life for themselves. The description marks this book as a sweeping and suspenseful tale about many things but I would not go as far as to say that. I think it falls rig I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. I really read an 800-page book for it to end on an opening/cliffhanger?!?! Now that I have got that off my chest let's get to the meat of The Falcon's Eyes The Falcon's Eyes is about Isabelle and how she forges her own path and life for themselves. The description marks this book as a sweeping and suspenseful tale about many things but I would not go as far as to say that. I think it falls right in line with other historical fiction novels. It sets a person on a path and we, as the reader, see the completion of the path. The novel is advertised as "a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine" and Eleanor is present in the novel but the wording of that phrase makes me think she's going to be a stronger presence throughout the novel than she actually was. The book is split into six different sections which signify different changes happening in Isabelle's life. However, the first section of the book is about 1/3 of the book or around 300+ pages. I think too much time was spent building up that section, which consists primarily of Isabelle's marriage. I understand the reasoning behind it but I think about 100 pages could have been cut. Honestly overall I think Isabella's girlhood and most of the marriage could have been cut to make the book shorter. What regular person is going to buy and read an 800+ page book?!? The theme of freedom that shines so much throughout the early pages I find the idea somewhat modern. Isabella's husband Gerald honestly is not free either. I am simplifying things but he has responsibilities that require things of him, just like she has of her. I honestly did not find anything here new or refreshing for the historical fiction genre. I think The Falcon's Eyes is well written and decently researched but once again, 800 pages..... I don't think I can get over that.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    The cover of this says it’s “a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine”. It really, really isn’t. So don’t go into the book expecting that. She’s a small side character. This also dragged a lot. Until the very end when there was actually something interesting happening, and it just wrapped up in two pages and abruptly ended. It didn’t need to be 800+ pages. I wouldn’t recommend this one. Full disclosure: I received an ARC of this.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nichole

    It was nice ti read a standard, well researched linear historical fiction book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Phoebe

    The misleading title, the length, and the irritating heroine are all points against this historical fiction novel. This is not a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, but about a young woman who marries well but who has little sense. She doesn't strategize well, she doesn't understand her husband and his ambitions, she makes stupid errors that just get her into trouble, and we grow tired of her naivete. Stanfill must have taken ages to write this 800 page book so packed is it with detail and dialogu The misleading title, the length, and the irritating heroine are all points against this historical fiction novel. This is not a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, but about a young woman who marries well but who has little sense. She doesn't strategize well, she doesn't understand her husband and his ambitions, she makes stupid errors that just get her into trouble, and we grow tired of her naivete. Stanfill must have taken ages to write this 800 page book so packed is it with detail and dialogue. So much dialogue. This is a talky novel. Eventually we do encounter Eleanor as a character and she doesn't disappoint, but she is a side character. Give this book a miss unless you can't get enough historical fiction--just don't expect anything ground-shaking. Adult.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Beth

    I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Set in France in the twelfth century, Isabelle is a young woman from a well to do but impoverished family. Her family makes a good match for her with a wealthy but controlling husband. With time, Isabelle continues to see more of the dark parts of her husband's personality and feels increasingly trapped in her circumstances. While billed as a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, the queen doesn't I received an uncorrected proof copy of this novel from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. Set in France in the twelfth century, Isabelle is a young woman from a well to do but impoverished family. Her family makes a good match for her with a wealthy but controlling husband. With time, Isabelle continues to see more of the dark parts of her husband's personality and feels increasingly trapped in her circumstances. While billed as a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine, the queen doesn't appear in the book for several hundred pages. Even then, she is very much a side character. While I liked Isabelle well enough and was curious to see where the book would take her, it did seem like false advertising on the publisher's part to claim this was about Eleanor of Aquitaine on the cover. The book was also substantially longer than it needed to be. At over 800 pages, it could have had a few hundred pages shaved off without losing much substance. The largest section of the book is about Isabelle's marriage as she strives to provide an heir for her husband and grows increasingly uneasy in their relationship. This development could have been accomplished in less time. I also was taken aback at the lack of historical accuracy. In particular, the author includes multiple letters throughout the book. They are in no way historically accurate and are full of asides, quibbling, mockery, etc. etc. Paper at that time was precious, as was ink. No one would have wasted space with such long diatribes about nothing. Isabelle marries a husband with a great estate and a large household. Wives at that time would have managed the house and had a great many responsibilities throughout the day to oversee such a bustling and well to do household. Yet Isabelle literally sits around bored without a single task to accomplish other than trying to get pregnant. Furthermore, Isabelle's brother is presented as the butt of the joke. While he may have been disliked, no woman of that time would have treated a male from an aristocratic family in such an unwelcoming manner. I also questioned whether Isabelle would have had friends who would pay her way as she did. In those days, a husbandless and then fatherless woman without means of her own would not have been seen as a sound investment and not have been someone that large sums of money from other families would have been spent on. Finally, without giving away spoilers, the grand conclusion and plot twist was poorly executed and seemed without real purpose other than to maybe set the book up for a sequel. A novel with a likeable lead, a compelling enough plot but far too long winded and too little research for historical accuracy.

  11. 5 out of 5

    David Dunlap

    Although the subtitle of this book is 'A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine' -- and that famous queen does cast a long shadow throughout the story, from start to finish -- the main thrust of the plot has to do with Isabelle de Lapalisse, the youngest child of four. The fiercely independent Isabelle has a difficult relationship with her mother, who prefers her two sons to her two daughters (although the older sister, Amelie, finds some favor for being more proper and compliant). Isabelle feels a kindr Although the subtitle of this book is 'A Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine' -- and that famous queen does cast a long shadow throughout the story, from start to finish -- the main thrust of the plot has to do with Isabelle de Lapalisse, the youngest child of four. The fiercely independent Isabelle has a difficult relationship with her mother, who prefers her two sons to her two daughters (although the older sister, Amelie, finds some favor for being more proper and compliant). Isabelle feels a kindred spirit with her elder brother Arnault, but no real connection with the eldest child of the family, Guy. Isabelle's parents (especially her mother) are delighted to arrange a marriage with a widower Gerard, Lord de Meurtaigne, a younger son who has done well for himself, but is attracted by the extra respectability that comes with the de Lapalisse bloodline. So Isabelle is sent off to marry at a very young age; she finds herself adrift with a moody, inscrutable husband and servants, some of whom are hostile to her. The marriage is not a success. Through the generosity of one of the few friends she made during her time at the de Meurtaigne estate, Isabelle is able to leave the home of her birth once again, this time to Fontevraud Abbey, where she lives among the nuns, acting as teacher to a sprightly five-year-old girl, Marie. But Isabelle is on the move again -- to England, this time, to act as companion to the imprisoned (and notorious) Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, with whom she forms a close bond. There is a startling plot twist at the end of the book that I'll not reveal here... The ending of the book seems a bit open-ended: Eleanor has died, but Isabelle is off to Spain, to the late queen's daughter Lenora, carrying the queen's papers for safekeeping. -- I found this novel to be quite interesting. The characters, for the most part, are well-drawn, and the reader receives a definite picture of life in the 12th Century, with all of its challenges and turmoil. That said, I would say: This book is L-O-N-G, and that may mean that it is not for everyone.

  12. 5 out of 5

    thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)

    I admit this isn’t my usual genre, I have read a little bit of historical fiction in my time, but it’s not generally my go to, but I was drawn in by the fact it’s called a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine and I adore anything I can read on Eleanor (and several other strong women in history) I am so glad I was drawn because judging by Francesca’s wonderful book, I need to be far more generous in my genre choosing and not so self limiting. This book was beautiful, from the very first few chapters I k I admit this isn’t my usual genre, I have read a little bit of historical fiction in my time, but it’s not generally my go to, but I was drawn in by the fact it’s called a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine and I adore anything I can read on Eleanor (and several other strong women in history) I am so glad I was drawn because judging by Francesca’s wonderful book, I need to be far more generous in my genre choosing and not so self limiting. This book was beautiful, from the very first few chapters I knew I was obsessed by Isabelle’s character and world, it becomes evident very quickly how much of an expert the author is in Medieval history, which I love because it just makes this so much more. I really enjoyed that you go on the journey with Isabelle as she grows, from a child to a mature woman, navigating her world which is so treacherous for a woman, knowing what words to say or actions to take when taking the wrong ones could literally end your life. So many more people need to read about life for women prior to the last 50 years and how hard everything we have was fought for, century by century. Although this is called a book of Eleanor of Aquitaine, it is via Isabelle we get to know the Queen, this is Isabelle’s story in every way and it’s through Isabelle’s narration we experience everything she does. I was so invested in this I found myself chastising myself early on when she marries that it seemed to be going well, that I’d forgotten the synopsis had told me Gerard was controlling, I love when a story is so engaging that I forget even the synopsis. Francesca brings the medieval world well and truly to life in the pages of this book, I could have been walking the courtyards of France and England in the twelfth century, if you want a read where you will care about the characters (and get emotional) , one that is beautifully written, one you won’t want to put down even in the early hours, this book is definitely for you.

  13. 5 out of 5

    The Page Ladies

    Book Review…The Falcon's Eyes by Francesca Stanfill The Falcons Eyes is the story of Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the queen she idolizes, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It not only illuminates a brilliant century and the notorious queen who dominated it, but also brings to life the vivid band of characters whom the heroine encounters on her journey to selfhood and as Isabelle confronts one challenge, one danger, after another. I am a huge fan of Book Review…The Falcon's Eyes by Francesca Stanfill The Falcons Eyes is the story of Isabelle, who defies convention to forge a remarkable life, one profoundly influenced by the queen she idolizes, Eleanor of Aquitaine. It not only illuminates a brilliant century and the notorious queen who dominated it, but also brings to life the vivid band of characters whom the heroine encounters on her journey to selfhood and as Isabelle confronts one challenge, one danger, after another. I am a huge fan of historical fiction and history books so I had a great time reading this story! There are definitely some interesting characters, especially Isabelle! She was a woman who cared deeply for those close to her and she truly wanted a life with purpose and meaning. It was easy to find a connection with her. The setting is in both France and England during the twelfth century and with beautiful and vivid details Francesca Stanfill painted a beautiful picture! The story is rich in history and it has a great story with some unexpected twists and turns that will keep you turning the pages! Wonderful story! Thank you Random Things Tours for sharing this book with me! #TheFalconsEyes #FrancescaStanfill #booktour #bookreview #books #historicalfictionbook #bookstagram #igbooks #igreads #bookrec #booksta #readstagram #readreadread #harperbooks #harper360uk #randomthingstours

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Dreamer

    The Falcon’s Eyes is an engrossing historical novel with rich character development, riveting dialogue and meticulous attention to detail. The book effectively transports the reader back to the 12th century. The characters are brilliantly conceived and their individual stories remind us that so many of the temporal and spiritual issues they faced in the 12th century remain front page headlines today. Meeting Isabelle was like meeting an old friend, one who made mistakes any one of us could make, The Falcon’s Eyes is an engrossing historical novel with rich character development, riveting dialogue and meticulous attention to detail. The book effectively transports the reader back to the 12th century. The characters are brilliantly conceived and their individual stories remind us that so many of the temporal and spiritual issues they faced in the 12th century remain front page headlines today. Meeting Isabelle was like meeting an old friend, one who made mistakes any one of us could make, who fought bravely for what she believed in, who cared for those around her, and who wanted a life of purpose and meaning. I am not quite sure about this story being billed as a story of Queen Eleanor as she doesn’t enter the story until the last third of the book but it is a masterfully written story filled with fascinating historical details. Be warned! This book is not for the casual reader, as the 800+ page count will scare some people off, but for those looking for a literary gem and a story of adventure, twists and turns then this is a book for you. The author has a distinctive voice and has created a page turning narrative so if you enjoy historical fiction this will go to the top of the list and is particularly recommended!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kim McGee

    The primary character is a young noblewoman who is married off to a domineering man and then tossed aside when she cannot provide a living male heir. Her story is similar to most of the women in that time but Isabelle made the decision to alter her husband's wishes for a child something that would put her life at risk. After being sent home in disgrace she finds a safe haven in a convent and then in the court of the imprisoned Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. This story is billed as a story of Queen The primary character is a young noblewoman who is married off to a domineering man and then tossed aside when she cannot provide a living male heir. Her story is similar to most of the women in that time but Isabelle made the decision to alter her husband's wishes for a child something that would put her life at risk. After being sent home in disgrace she finds a safe haven in a convent and then in the court of the imprisoned Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. This story is billed as a story of Queen Eleanor even though she does not enter the story until the last third of the book. The bulk of the story revolves around the strong independent women controlling their own destiny despite the powerful men. This is a women's story from Queen Eleanor down to the orphan Marie who lives at the convent, masterfully told and well researched. Fans of Ken Follett's PILLARS OF THE EARTH series and the classic historical fiction of Philippa Gregory will dive into this meaty tome. My thanks to the publisher for the advance copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Thanks to the author/publisher for the goodreads giveaway! I barely know what to say about this one, I have so many mixed feelings. The first 5/7 was awesome. I tore through it and loved every second. Then suddenly I began to feel like I just wanted it to be over - maybe it was slow, maybe I just ran out of stamina (with over 800 pages there’s bound to be some slow parts and fatigue). Things picked back up for me towards the end and came to a screeching halt that left me wondering how the story a Thanks to the author/publisher for the goodreads giveaway! I barely know what to say about this one, I have so many mixed feelings. The first 5/7 was awesome. I tore through it and loved every second. Then suddenly I began to feel like I just wanted it to be over - maybe it was slow, maybe I just ran out of stamina (with over 800 pages there’s bound to be some slow parts and fatigue). Things picked back up for me towards the end and came to a screeching halt that left me wondering how the story actually ends and how on Earth I got to this kind of ending in an 800 page book?!? I would have loved for there to be an epilogue or SOMETHING to truly end the storyline. My only real concern/complaint is that the cover states the is “a Novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine” and she is only introduced about halfway through and is only a supporting character. This is a novel of a character named Isabelle in which Eleanor of Aquitaine makes an appearance.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    The books is labeled as a book of Eleanor of Aquitaine. However that is not true and when I realized this I was mad at the miss leading. She does not show up until after the mid way point of the book, then barely a 100 pages later is gone again. The tag line should be taken off. However, the book was lovely and interesting. It grips your from the beginning and wraps you in the twelfth century. There are some historical inaccuracies but this is a work of fiction so I can forgive that. The book is The books is labeled as a book of Eleanor of Aquitaine. However that is not true and when I realized this I was mad at the miss leading. She does not show up until after the mid way point of the book, then barely a 100 pages later is gone again. The tag line should be taken off. However, the book was lovely and interesting. It grips your from the beginning and wraps you in the twelfth century. There are some historical inaccuracies but this is a work of fiction so I can forgive that. The book is also super long and doesn’t need to be. It seems like this book is to be a series, so why not just cut this one in half? I will say the big plot twist was meh and a bit predictable but made up for it that it wasn’t quickly resolved. Waiting to see where this goes.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kate Shotliff

    If I had one word to describe this book, it would be epic (not just because she long… she’s an 800+ page beast) because there is so much detail and depth to the character of Isabelle and the world that she exists in. The writing is so descriptive and emotive, really embellishing the historical narrative of the very gender and class driven society. I loved following Isabelle’s journey from her childhood home through her tempestuous marriage to Gerard (what an utter douche) and then how by fate or If I had one word to describe this book, it would be epic (not just because she long… she’s an 800+ page beast) because there is so much detail and depth to the character of Isabelle and the world that she exists in. The writing is so descriptive and emotive, really embellishing the historical narrative of the very gender and class driven society. I loved following Isabelle’s journey from her childhood home through her tempestuous marriage to Gerard (what an utter douche) and then how by fate or luck she ends up meeting Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. It really feels like you are in Isabelle’s head, and I felt totally immersed in her character, I chuckled every time Guy wrote to her imagining her rolling her eyes and going ffs, in medieval French of course. It’s not as advertised ‘a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine’ though she does pop up just after half-way through, it’s Isabelle’s story and her life. I didn’t mind this so much, but I can see why some readers might feel mislead by the tagline. All in all, I loved this book highly recommend it to lovers of historical fiction. Thank you to HarperCollins for my gifted copy.

  19. 5 out of 5

    EllenZReads

    The subtitle of this book is "a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine," but unlike other works, this exquisitely detailed book focuses on someone telling Eleanor's story from a different perspective--through the eyes of sixteen year-old Isabelle, a young woman who enters into an arranged marriage with a wealthy lord, hoping to somehow escape the strict confines of her family and of being a young woman in 12th century France. However, the marriage is not as wonderful as it initially seems, and soon Isabe The subtitle of this book is "a novel of Eleanor of Aquitaine," but unlike other works, this exquisitely detailed book focuses on someone telling Eleanor's story from a different perspective--through the eyes of sixteen year-old Isabelle, a young woman who enters into an arranged marriage with a wealthy lord, hoping to somehow escape the strict confines of her family and of being a young woman in 12th century France. However, the marriage is not as wonderful as it initially seems, and soon Isabelle must use her wits to stay safe from her controlling husband's actions. At 760 pages, The Falcon's Eyes is not exactly an easy read, but it is absorbing and filled with complex characters and varied settings, and well worth the time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carlee Miller

    This is not my typical read, as it is set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story, especially considering this book is over 800 pages long. The Falcon’s Eyes follows Isabelle who eventually becomes closer to the queen she idolizes, Eleanor of Aquitaine. I appreciated the strength, tenacity, and intelligence of the female characters, and I really enjoyed the character Marie. Overall, I thought this was a fascinating story with its r This is not my typical read, as it is set in France and England at the end of the twelfth century. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the story, especially considering this book is over 800 pages long. The Falcon’s Eyes follows Isabelle who eventually becomes closer to the queen she idolizes, Eleanor of Aquitaine. I appreciated the strength, tenacity, and intelligence of the female characters, and I really enjoyed the character Marie. Overall, I thought this was a fascinating story with its roots in history I wasn’t very familiar with before reading. Thank you Harper Collins for providing me with an advanced copy of this book!

  21. 4 out of 5

    James Glass

    I loved the opening line of this book. Abraham died. He didn’t do it of old age or natural causes. Unless you count a small child slicing you up with an old-fashioned barber’s razor as natural. I'm not sure if it was the writer's intent to use sarcasm at the end, but it hooked me. The story is well written, and the dialogue is done very well. This book is not for the faint hearted. I love reading gory stuff and the author really delivers. At times the disturbingly, beautiful visuals were enough to I loved the opening line of this book. Abraham died. He didn’t do it of old age or natural causes. Unless you count a small child slicing you up with an old-fashioned barber’s razor as natural. I'm not sure if it was the writer's intent to use sarcasm at the end, but it hooked me. The story is well written, and the dialogue is done very well. This book is not for the faint hearted. I love reading gory stuff and the author really delivers. At times the disturbingly, beautiful visuals were enough to even turn my stomach. However, this talent also includes beautiful visuals too. If you love horror, you'll enjoy the book. Kudos to the author.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Murphy

    I love a good historical novel--and this mammoth, 12th century epic (almost 30 hours of audio) fit the bill. Isabelle is spirited, educated, and beautiful (of course), and has been raised on stories of adventure and the legendary, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, ex-wife of France's King Louis and current imprisoned wife of England's King Henry. Isabelle is married off to to Gerard, a handsome, powerful (and it turns out, ruthless) man of means. But all does not go well, resulting in Isabelle's next I love a good historical novel--and this mammoth, 12th century epic (almost 30 hours of audio) fit the bill. Isabelle is spirited, educated, and beautiful (of course), and has been raised on stories of adventure and the legendary, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine, ex-wife of France's King Louis and current imprisoned wife of England's King Henry. Isabelle is married off to to Gerard, a handsome, powerful (and it turns out, ruthless) man of means. But all does not go well, resulting in Isabelle's next chapters -- home, to an abbey, to England as companion to the Queen, back to the abbey... Twists and turns, interesting characters, birds of prey, intrigue, perils, and adventures!

  23. 5 out of 5

    LoriAnn Pilant

    I read this book just a few days ago and I still can’t get the wonderful setting, and characters out of my mind... I could hardly put it down to do anything for the two days and nights it took me to read it and I’m STILL trying to pull myself away from Fontevraud Abbey and the women of this delicious novel💕. It transported me to THAT time and each place SO well that I felt as if I have time traveled and made new friends whom I will miss dearly, at least until I reread it again .... which I most I read this book just a few days ago and I still can’t get the wonderful setting, and characters out of my mind... I could hardly put it down to do anything for the two days and nights it took me to read it and I’m STILL trying to pull myself away from Fontevraud Abbey and the women of this delicious novel💕. It transported me to THAT time and each place SO well that I felt as if I have time traveled and made new friends whom I will miss dearly, at least until I reread it again .... which I most definitely will do!!! Cannot WAIT to see what MS. STANFILL has in store for us next!!!! Laura in Mo.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca Shiplett

    I received this book through a giveaway. Set at the end of the twelfth century, in France and England, this story revolves around Isabelle. She wants a life filled with adventure and travel and through a series of events, she gets just that. 800+ pages of adventure, twists and turns. The plot and characters are interesting, but I feel the book could have been shortened and still told the story. I was a bit disappointed in the ending. Everything came to an abrupt halt. Maybe a sequel is planned.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    Excellent. Made me feel as though I was there and suffering through with the various characters. Strong, admirable women with remarkable lives - accurate as far as history goes .. interesting insights into Queen Eleanor and the amazing times she lived in, yet not at all removed or remote or stuffy in the telling of the tales. I must say this book was terrifying and exhausting and wonderfully absorbing but I literally took a week off reading when done .. seems to leave the possibility of a sequel Excellent. Made me feel as though I was there and suffering through with the various characters. Strong, admirable women with remarkable lives - accurate as far as history goes .. interesting insights into Queen Eleanor and the amazing times she lived in, yet not at all removed or remote or stuffy in the telling of the tales. I must say this book was terrifying and exhausting and wonderfully absorbing but I literally took a week off reading when done .. seems to leave the possibility of a sequel?

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    I liked the setting...12th century France and England. I did not know of Fontevraud Abby’s existence before reading this. Now it’s on the list of places I would like to visit...along with Troye and Nimes. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a fascinating subject...I will look into reading about her, this book is certainly not about her, as I recall from the description? The only reason I don’t rate this book highe is because I found it too long...I found myself skipping over paragraphs in parts I found borin I liked the setting...12th century France and England. I did not know of Fontevraud Abby’s existence before reading this. Now it’s on the list of places I would like to visit...along with Troye and Nimes. Eleanor of Aquitaine is a fascinating subject...I will look into reading about her, this book is certainly not about her, as I recall from the description? The only reason I don’t rate this book highe is because I found it too long...I found myself skipping over paragraphs in parts I found boring or unnecessary.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Damion

    A good read and well written. There were a few moments though where the story dragged on a bit. Most notably though was the last part. I think part of what caused this was in some parts you would skip months to a year in just a page and then would describe a few days for an entire chapter. Other than this, I enjoyed the story and even found myself emotional in some parts due to how the author made you feel for the characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Serena Heerema

    The longest, most drawn-out, book I have ever read. Halfway through the book (which is 811 pages), I was struggling to find the motivation to finish it. I gave up when I got to page 700, it was way too drawn out and boring. Maybe I'm used to a faster pace. The plotline and characters are great and had so much potential to be a good read! But then a friend told me "Life is too short and there are too many great books to waste time on a bad one", so here I am. The longest, most drawn-out, book I have ever read. Halfway through the book (which is 811 pages), I was struggling to find the motivation to finish it. I gave up when I got to page 700, it was way too drawn out and boring. Maybe I'm used to a faster pace. The plotline and characters are great and had so much potential to be a good read! But then a friend told me "Life is too short and there are too many great books to waste time on a bad one", so here I am.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

    If possible, I would have actually given this novel 3.5 stars. While it is an interesting look into one medieval noblewoman's life, I disagree with its advertising as a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine as she doesn't even become a secondary character until about 500 pages into the novel. Additionally, I don't think that it actually needed to be an 800 page novel as it often felt repetitious while recounting the day-to-day of the protagonist's life. If possible, I would have actually given this novel 3.5 stars. While it is an interesting look into one medieval noblewoman's life, I disagree with its advertising as a novel about Eleanor of Aquitaine as she doesn't even become a secondary character until about 500 pages into the novel. Additionally, I don't think that it actually needed to be an 800 page novel as it often felt repetitious while recounting the day-to-day of the protagonist's life.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lillyanna Lamm

    Thank You Harper Collins for this arc in exchange for an honest review. "The Falcon's Eyes" by Francesca Stanfill follows the story of a young women who is close to Eleanor of Aquitaine. I would give "The Falcon's Eyes" by Francesca Stanfill a 3-star review because, 1; the story is vivid 2; the story is vividly long and 3; it was interesting to read this novel but just I didn't really enjoyed it as much as I hoped. Thank You Harper Collins for this arc in exchange for an honest review. "The Falcon's Eyes" by Francesca Stanfill follows the story of a young women who is close to Eleanor of Aquitaine. I would give "The Falcon's Eyes" by Francesca Stanfill a 3-star review because, 1; the story is vivid 2; the story is vividly long and 3; it was interesting to read this novel but just I didn't really enjoyed it as much as I hoped.

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