Shadow of the Crown
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Well, most of the time at least, she spoke up for herself against her husband on more than one occasion too. So there was not much consistency with her character. She also had a tendency to do a lot of really stupid things in her quest to be respected. Like deciding that she is going to go on a boat trip, in the middle of winter, in terrible weather, when she is seconds away from giving birth. Nice job on that one Emma!
Making History Tart & Titillating
The only other main female character we meet is Elgiva. She was a selfish, spoiled, evil, stupid little girl and one who brought nothing of any value to the plot.
She only has one truly evil action in this book and no one ever even knew it was her or that it was anything other than an accident actually so it was rather pointless. The plot has a lot going on but not much of it actually amounted to anything. You have a King who is being confronted with an invasion by the Danes and has no idea what to do about it, and so he decides to do nothing or do something rash.
This guy got to become king? He was an idiot through and through. He tries to solve the invading Danes issue and gets nowhere. Yet she also does a lot of things that directly contradict that supposed goal. Then we get prophecies about several characters that keep being mentioned but are not followed up on. There are lots and lots of interesting pieces of plot but it never comes together into a cohesive story. But what really made this a two star book was what the author chose to imaginatively overlook with historical accuracy and what she did not.
Anyone who reads historical fiction must accept that women are largely treated like objects for the sole use and purpose of men. They are bought and sold like pawns.
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Abuse and rape were common, this is all true! But I thought there was more women beating and women getting raped than there was plot. It was constant. It was hard to go a handful of pages without a woman being backhanded or sexually assaulted. No, just no!
Ultimately it was the rampant degradation of women and the disjointed plot that just me not care much about any of it anymore. And that disappoints me, I had high hopes for this. Special thanks to Viking Adult for providing me an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! This and other reviews at Stefani's World of Words View all 8 comments.
My rating: 4. Do you hear me? However great the provocation you must never allow anyone to see your fear. This one caught my eye primarily because it is still set in England, however, it's in a very, very early England.
After this one, I do believe I have learned my lesson and I need to take more chances with my historical fiction picks. Shadow on the Crown was superbly done. The author has stated that Shadow on the Crown is based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, but it's evident the author has the ability to take pieces of history and create a truly stirring story.
Also, I really appreciated her interpretation of the romances. In most historical fiction novels the romances are portrayed similarly to a historical romance bodice ripper and just comes off as corny rather than genuine. Each character was given their own unique voice and even though they were not a main character their bits in the story still shown. Emma was an amazingly strong character and it was a joy to read the majority of this story through her eyes. The POV does occasionally switch up but is not overdone and provides additional and necessary facets of this story.
What truly blows me away about this novel is that it's a debut novel. The few historical fiction debut novels I've read in the past have all read like the author is re-wording their history books.
Shadow on the Crown
Patricia Bracewell managed to re-tell a piece of history and imbue something vibrant into it. It's quite obvious that the author is passionate about history and this time period in general but her passion is addicting and made it a true joy to read. Shadow on the Crown does not tell all of Emma's story so I'm very much looking forward to future books. Aug 08, Amy Bruno rated it it was amazing Shelves: england , historical-fiction , arcs , for-review , review-pipeline , 11th-century , medieval , read-in , emma-of-normandy.
Spectacular book! Review to come View all 5 comments. Oct 29, Jaksen rated it really liked it. Enjoyed this book immensely. I had previously read the second book in this trilogy. But I would not advise reading any series backwards, especially history or historical fiction. In this, the first of three books about Emma of Normandy, Emma marries Aethelred, the king of England in order to solidify a relationship between England and Normandy. Emma's brother, Richard, Duke of Normandy gains an alliance with a king who controls a vast area of England; Aethelred gets a promise that Richard will Enjoyed this book immensely.
Emma's brother, Richard, Duke of Normandy gains an alliance with a king who controls a vast area of England; Aethelred gets a promise that Richard will keep the Vikings somewhat under control. Richard already has a pact with the Danes and is related to them through his Danish mother. Wow, there is a lot of background to understand, names to learn, places to get accustomed to, but it's all well worth it. And, Bracewell is great at NOT info-dumping. Events, people, places, backstories, when needed, are all included within the storyline itself.
No long tedious passages of who did what to whom fifty years ago, unless it's relevant to what is going on. Emma is surprised when her mother arranges this marriage as she has an older sister who should be the next to marry, but Emma has been chosen as she is the stronger sister, both physically and emotionally. She goes to marry the king knowing full well what is expected of her, which the author goes into in detail, nothing is held back.
Emma does not enjoy her marriage, her husband, her new life, but she prays and struggles to accept it with her head held high. Aethelred, expecting a submissive wife like his first, who recently died in childbirth , is surprised to be married to an outspoken and and forthright woman, but apparently the historical Emma was no shrinking violet. When she is tested, she proves herself.
She endures a gossipy and back-stabbing royal court which wants little to do with her, enemies who would like nothing better than to see her fail and either be sent home to Normandy or to a convent, and yet slowly Emma wins over enough key and important people who become her eyes and ears when her husband, the king, forces her into the background.
Despite her great dislike of her husband, Emma wants to have his child, to cement the alliance with the two countries. And even though Aethelred already has seven sons by his first wife , he wants a child with Emma, too, if nothing else but to keep her busy and out of his way. It is this continuing struggle between the two - the king and Emma - which is one of the main focal points of the novel.
And this is no romance, one in which Emma ultimately finds the tender man under the hard, coarse soul of the man she married. Not at all. King Aethelred is a beast, a man haunted by the ghost of his brother, as well as a ruthless ruler struggling to keep control of his lands, his nobles, and keep the Vikings - Danes mostly - from constantly pillaging, plundering, murdering, raping - all the things they were known for in this time period.
The time is from around the year to According to the author, Emma was between 12 and 20 when she became Aethelred's bride. The main historical figures are real; the main events are real.
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What the author has imagined or filled in, are the relationships between these people, though there are many historical sources which give hints and clues as to what went on between Emma and her husband, Emma and her Norman court, and others. At the end of the book the author describes where real events - and those which are fictional - meet.
There is a lot of action in this book; depictions of life at the time; attitudes toward women and children; the common people and the nobility; and even what day-to-day life looked like. The conversations are realistic and natural. This is an interesting novel of the Anglo-Saxon period in England, Normandy, and of course, up north where those rascally Vikings dwell. If only they'd stay up there!
I look forward to the third and final book in Bracewell's trilogy.
Book Review: Shadow on the Crown - chromarinsys.tk
View 1 comment. Feb 05, Meg - A Bookish Affair rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction , , fiction. Emma is a young woman who is forced to marry King Aethelred of England.