Here is a great successor to Sharon Kay Penman (whom we lost last year.) Stanfill's attention to historical detail is surpassed only by her storytelling. Like a luxurious tapestry, the extraordinary life of Eleanor of Aquitaine is the backdrop to the life story of equally rebellious Countess Isabelle de Ravinor whose exploits are woven in and around great and small events in French and English history. This is a good old fashioned epic.— Maeve Noonan
"With her eye for historical detail and flair for sympathetic heroines, Francesca Stanfill breathes new life into the medieval court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Falcon’s Eyes is a novel of epic proportions that succeeds in being both intimate and vast. History is Stanfill’s canvas, humanity her inspiration."—Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
“Stanfill has persuasively re-imagined the Middle Ages, surrounding the legendary Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine with indelible characters in an immersive tale of intrigue, bravery, ruthlessness, and compassion. . . . The Falcon’s Eyes is a dazzling adventure, with riveting twists and turns and a surprising yet deeply satisfying conclusion."—Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen
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
Willful and outspoken, sixteen-year-old Isabelle yearns to escape her stifling life in provincial twelfth century France. The bane of her mother’s existence, she admires the notorious queen most in her circle abhor: Eleanor of Aquitaine. Isabelle’s arranged marriage to Gerard --- a rich, charismatic lord obsessed with falcons --- seems, at first, to fulfill her longing for adventure. But as Gerard’s controlling nature, and his consuming desire for a male heir, become more apparent, Isabelle, in the spirit of her royal heroine, makes bold, often perilous, decisions which will forever affect her fate.
A suspenseful, sweeping tale about marriage, freedom, identity, and motherhood, THE FALCON’S EYES brings alive not only a brilliant century and the legendary queen who dominated it, but also the vivid band of complex characters whom the heroine encounters on her journey to selfhood: noblewomen, nuns, servants, falconers, and courtiers. The various settings — Château Ravinour, Fontevraud Abbey, and Queen Eleanor’s exiled court in England — are depicted as memorably as those who inhabit them. 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.
FRANCESCA STANFILL was born in Oxford, England, and grew up in New York City and Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Yale University, where her studies included the History of Art and medieval history. Her articles have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times Magazine, New York, and Vanity Fair. Her lifelong fascination with the twelfth century and its legendary queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine, propelled her to write The Falcon’s Eyes, her third novel. She lives in New York.
“Stanfill has persuasively re-imagined the Middle Ages, surrounding the legendary Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine with indelible characters in an immersive tale of intrigue, bravery, ruthlessness, and compassion. . . . The Falcon’s Eyes is a dazzling adventure, with riveting twists and turns and a surprising yet deeply satisfying conclusion." — Sally Bedell Smith, author of Elizabeth the Queen
"With her eye for historical detail and flair for sympathetic heroines, Francesca Stanfill breathes new life into the medieval court of Eleanor of Aquitaine. The Falcon’s Eyes is a novel of epic proportions that succeeds in being both intimate and vast. History is Stanfill’s canvas, humanity her inspiration." — Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
"This whopper of a novel is perfect for readers who want to lose themselves in a long historical yarn." — Kirkus Reviews
"The enriching dialogue between brave Isabelle and wise Eleanor consistently intrigues, as does the bewitching blend of tainted nobility, secretive domestics, and palace plots. This is a crackling historical." — Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"This is a long but engaging book. The time period is well researched, and Stanfill’s narrative remains true to the customs. Will appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel." — Library Journal
"Practically perfect storytelling . . . (this) thick tome provides the unique joy of immersion into a rich world that seemingly never ends." — New York Journal of Books
"The Falcon’s Eyes is a richly woven, deeply satisfying work of medieval fiction." — Napa Valley Register
"Francesca Stanfill’s multilayered story offers a rich and absorbing picture of medieval life at all levels, from the sorceress living in a hut in the woods to the falcons’ mews and the exigencies of travel. Her sure hand and light touch make this both a memorable and an enjoyable read." — Lit Hub