Book Reviews

Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone

Once upon a time there were four sisters, daughters of Count Raymond Berengar V, of Provence, known as the land of song. His court was enchanting, happy and idyllic. As his daughters grew their beauty was broadcast far and wide by troubadours (spin doctors of the period) and suitors came acalling.

At a very tender age, Marguerite, the eldest, was married to the King of France, Louis IX. This was quickly followed by the marriage of the second daughter, Eleanor to the King of England, Henry III, (John’s son). These alliances brought great happiness to both kingdoms. They were further cemented when daughter number three, Sancha, married Richard of Cornwall, Henry’s brother. Not to be outdone, Beatrice, the youngest, married the brother of Louis, Charles, Count of Anjou.

Sancha’s husband, through his business acumen became the richest man in England. Later he was offered the crown of Germany – not that he visited his realm much.

Beatrice, was particularly jealous of her three queen sisters so jumped at the chance of becoming Queen of Sicily, although she never actually set foot on the island.

The two eldest daughters lived happily ever after Their unions brought a period of great peace between England and France epitomised by the family Christmas gatherings, where music, sumptuous clothes and general congeniality prevailed.

Sancha was not so lucky. She was neglected by Richard and died at age 35. Beatrice, like the two eldest sisters followed her husband into battle in order to gain Sicily, but did not live to see the island.

This thirteenth century Provence fairytale is celebrated in Dante’s The Divine Comedy: Paradise, Canto VI.

I thoroughly enjoyed this romp and Nancy Goldstone’s dry humour and style


Library Catalogue:
Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone


Win Ramdas

Director of the Board



Four Queens by Nancy Goldstone

When you join SMSA as member, you get a wide range of benefits.

Access to the SMSA Library

We are home to a unique collection of books, a highlight being our Mystery and Crime section.

Able to borrow from the Tom Keneally Centre

We are honoured to be the home of Tom Keneally’s personal collection of books, many of which have been used as research for his own works.

Access to member only events

Join a members group, share your passions, learn new skills, make new friends and get involved.

Access to member only activities such as members groups

We provide a variety of member only events, these are relaxed social occasions to have fun and make new friends.

Join as a Member

Subscribe to stay up-to-date