Friday, January 4, 2013

Shrouded in Time

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.

Summary: In 1002, fifteen­-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.

Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.

Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon ChronicleShadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.

Review: An enjoyable historical novel set in medieval times that starts off slowly, but soon picks up the pace.

I have not read much about the medieval period, both fiction and nonfiction, and I know I need to remedy that, especially since I plan on focusing on medieval literature when I go for my English Ph.D. I figured I would give this book a shot. It started off a bit slow and I was dreading to read it, but thankfully, the pace picked up. Luckily, there was a lot of history to keep the book interesting and to keep it moving.

I appreciated the author's note at the end of the book which told us how many facts are actually known, which aren't many. Bracewell fills in the blanks with her own ideas and conjectures. She made reasonable conjectures and I could reasonably believe that it could have happened like that. There was a large contrast between the bad king, the good son, and the dutiful wife. I really wished Emma would have forgone duty and thought about her own safety, to say nothing of happiness. There will be two more books in this series and I hope that Emma becomes a stronger woman. 


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to those that enjoy medieval fiction or historical fiction about kings and queens.

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