Shadow on the Crown
by Patricia Bracewell
Amazon 5-star rating - 56%
A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen...
In 1002, 15-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 listeners to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern listeners.
Book Review originally posted in March 2013
Ethelred II, the Anglo-Saxon English king's wife had just died and he needed a new wife to please his counselors/advisers. There were two girls he could arrange to marry, one girl from the north and one from the south. Based on his careful analysis, an alliance from the south seemed far better than the north's. So King Ethelred II asked Richard II, Duke of Normandy to hand over his sister Emma, which at the time of request was only 15 years old. Richard II was hesitant at first to give up his young sister. After weighing things, he knew there's no other choice... he had to let Emma marry the English king because saying no to Ethelred II would mean war.
So Emma went to England to marry the English king (age could be somewhere between 30-35?) but people from England aren't too happy about it. One English noble, Elgiva (the girl from the north) wanted to be a queen and she's determined to do everything to take Emma's crown. Emma knew that if she lost the crown, her life is doomed in England.
I totally loved this book and I found myself researching more about Queen Emma's life just to satisfy my curiosity. Shadow on the Crown was an easy read. The story flowed just right. The book didn't look like a historian work - in a positive way. There's some kind of simplicity in the stories, I didn't doubt any of the author's fictional tales. The characters, the English setting at the time and even the character's dialogue felt authentic. It's not hard to imagine the places and people those time period. Even, Emma's romantic relationship to one of the characters (fiction) felt real. Oh I love Emma, she's a very smart girl. She could have not survived the whole queen stuff if she's not smart. Just imagine a queen at the age of 15!
Shadow on the Crown is the first book to a trilogy about Emma of Normandy. There are too many things to learn in this book as it is rich in historical facts.
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