Description (from publisher):
‘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.’
My thoughts are mixed on this one. I enjoyed reading about something new and branching out and reading a book in a different time period than I am used to. However, there were some frustrations with this one. I had a really, really hard time keeping up and understanding the names used in this book. There were old English words that I had no idea what they were and if it wasn’t for the glossary provided, I would have been completely lost. I do recommend that you bookmark or highlight or do something with the glossary as you will be using it quite frequently at the beginning. Towards the end, I could keep up with who was who and what the words meant, but at first it was very overwhelming.
Emma of Normandy is someone who is new to me. I normally don’t go back that far in my historical fiction reading and it was nice to try something new. It was foreign to me and took some getting used to, but I kind of enjoyed it. At least this book isn’t about the Tudors or some other topic that is overused. It was a fresh approach to a new historical character and I really enjoyed that part of this novel. Emma’s character at times got on my nerves a little because she has no backbone for the first part of this story, however, she does come into her own as the story goes along and by the end she has grown on me. The abusive husband angle of this story was a little hard for me to wrap myself around. I normally don’t like to read about these types of situations, but to be honest, that’s how women were treated back then and I’m glad the author stayed true to accuracy.
Overall, this was a fun and engaging read. At times I felt it was a little long in places and could have been shortened. I learned in the author’s note at the end, that this apparently is the first book in a trilogy and the ending leaves a hint of the future. I can’t wait to see what happens next to Emma and her mean husband, King Athelred and what history has in store for them. A good read if you’re looking for something fresh and a little something different. Just be prepared to be flipping back and forth to the glossary as it is something I found that I needed to keep referencing in order to get what was going on. Nevertheless, a good debut for a new historical fiction author and I can’t wait to read the next.
Overall Rating: 3
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.