Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen

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 Chronicle, Shadow 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.


Shadow on the Crown is a rich story chronicling the life of Emma of Normandy.
Imagine being taken away from the only home you have ever known at the age of fifteen to marry a King who is a complete stranger. Especially when that King mistrusts her from the very start and there is the Kings mistress who would do just about anything she could in order to be Queen herself. Talk about frightening.  Trying to forge good relationships with the royal court and win over the people of England is anything but easy. All too quickly Emma is thrust into a new place where people are plotting her demise and trusting the wrong person could be a costly mistake.

What I liked:
The fact that this novel is based on real events made it much more enjoyable to read. For me the story did not drag. It kept a nice steady pace with unpredictable events unfolding along the way. I loved Emma. She could have played the victim with everything that was happening around her, but she did not cower, she stood firm, and wanted to do what was best for England.

Final thoughts:
I was a bit surprised to find that this is the first book for author Patricia Bracewell. Shadow on the Crown was an engaging read that satisfied my fix for a good historical fiction book. Emma’s story does not end here; this is just the first book in a trilogy.  I would recommend this book to readers who like historical fiction with a solid story line, a good dose of history, and character.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

** I received this book from Penguin Publishing/Viking Adult in exchange for nothing, but my honest review. Thank you!** 


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