Shadow on the Crown is the debut novel of Patricia Bracewell and it releases today! This novel is the perfect blend of historical fact and fiction and lucky for us the first in a planned trilogy by the author. In Shadow on the Crown, Patricia Bracewell has brought alive Queen Emma of England and weaved us a tale of what her life may have been like back in medieval times. The author has taken liberties with the story which she explains in the author’s note but the story stays true to the actual characters in history as well as the events. To me this is what historical fiction should be – a novel that gives me just enough fact not to be bored and then a story that fully captures my attention. I am already anxiously awaiting the second novel in this trilogy.
In the year 1002, Emma of Normandy is just fifteen years old when she is crowned Queen Emma of England and married to King Athelred. She is in a world totally unfamiliar to her and King Athelred isn’t all that happy to have her there; so much so that he doesn’t even meet her when she arrives. Her first meetings with the King don’t go well as he doesn’t trust her and he’s a cruel man and this seems to set the tone for their relationship as it goes forth. As Emma tries to gain a hold on her place with the English she finds that the King, who is a bit of a wanderer, has a woman on the side who is showing herself to be a rival to Emma and one who needs to be stopped. As is the life of any Queen, Emma needs to produce an heir and if she can’t she knows that her position as Queen is precarious at best.
Just as Emma knows that a son could secure her place and future as Queen, so do Athelred’s sons and they too do not trust Emma at all. If she does produce a son he could easily take their place as heir to the throne as he will be the one son actually born to a Queen and not just a consort. Yet as time goes on Emma finds herself drawn to King Athelred’s eldest son and yet she realizes that no good can come of that. For Emma there is no one she can truly trust other than herself and her only goal in life is to produce a son and then guard him with her life.
I liked Emma as a character. I have read one other book on her years ago so she wasn’t entirely unknown to me. At times it seems frustrating to read about women back in this time because they seem to give in so easily to those around them that are in power. It is those times though that you have to remember how different things were for women then. Girls were forced into being women long before their time. I’m looking forward to seeing how her character develops in the two novels to come.
Shadow on the Crown is a novel full of court intrigue, ambition, betrayal, and love. It is a must read for historical fiction fans and one that I loved! You can learn more about Patricia on her website as well as Facebook, and Twitter. There is also a reader’s guide for Shadow on the Crown making it a great book club selection and you can pick up your own copy of the novel at Amazon, Amazon.ca, B&N, and IndieBound.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS (US only)
I have one copy of Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell to share with my readers. To enter…
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This giveaway is open to US residents only (no PO boxes) and I will draw for the winner on Saturday, February 23/13. Good luck!
Source: Review copy provided by Viking via NetGalley. No compensation was received and all opinions are my own.