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.
One word: WOW! From the very first page of this fascinating historical fiction, I was riveted. I started reading in bed, late one night, and very reluctantly closed the book after the first couple chapters. I rolled over, shut my eyes and thought, “Whoa! This is gonna be an amazing read.“
And it is! Emma, a character that until now was lost to history, is a heroine everyone can relate to, admire and love. The book, based on actual events as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, is the first in a trilogy about the brave woman’s life. Author Patricia Bracewell writes with passion and gorgeous prose. Many times, I actually held my breath as I turned the page, eager to see what would come next.
With everything from war and betrayal to forbidden love and sweet romance, Shadow on the Crown is one of the best historical fiction novels I’ve read. I cannot wait to read the rest of the trilogy.
Content note: There are about five or six brief, but moderately descriptive sex scenes between the king and Emma, some in violence (King Aethelred is a bad guy!), a few other sexual references, brief battlefield violence including mention of rape and a few uses of foul language.
Shadow on the Crown was released last week and is available everywhere books are sold.