Synopsis according to Goodreads:
"Alais, the king of France's sister, is abducted while on her mission for the wily Eleanor of Aquitaine, the former Queen of England, to retrieve hidden letters that, in the wrong hands, could bring down the English king. In exchange, the French princess was to receive long-heldand dangerous information. Now Alais, along with help from the very intriguing leader of the Knights Templar, must unravel a tangled web of family secrets and lies."
The Canterbury Papers brought to life an historical figure I'd never encountered before- Alaïs Capet, stepdaughter of Eleanor of Aquitane. This book did an excellent job of bringing a little-known figure into life, especially as an older (for the day) woman caught in the typical Plantagenet drama of the day.
There's a fair amount of actual history in here, and the author is good at calling out the fictitious bits from it. It's got a lot going on- mainly intrigue and mystery, but also adventure, a strong female protagonist, and romance. It's a pretty well-paced novel, although I wanted to see more about William Marshall and a few of the other side characters (who are actual historical figures).
Overall, I recommend it for fans of historical fiction, especially 1200s England/France/Aquitane, the Plantagenets, and the Knights Templar. Even if you are only mildly interested in historical fiction, the narrative voice of a 40s-sh woman being given the breath and space to become her own person (at a time where she was, by status and birth, always meant to be a political pawn) was refreshing and sweet.
Labels: book review, coming of age again, england, female protagonist, france, historical fiction, judith koll healey, medieval, mystery, plantagenets, political intrigue, romance, the canterbury papers