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Shadow on the Crown

Author: Patricia Bracewell
Publisher: Viking Adult
Publication Date: February 7, 2013
Genre: Adult Fiction, Historical Fic.
Pages: 407
Buy: The Book Depository

Book Description: 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.

*ARC won through The Reading Room ARC Giveaway*

I first like to mention how this book has Vikings as the ‘bad guys’ and it was published by a company called Viking. I found that amusing.

I really enjoyed this book from the very first pages. It was exhilarating and enticing from the start. The characters were flushed out and believable, the setting was beautifully written, and the large events that occurred actually happened.

You know a book is good when you have feelings for the characters. There were some that I sympathized with, others I hated and quite often I would yell at the characters for being so blinded by their own pride. Many characters were really self centered and stupid, that I just couldn’t see how they hadn’t destroyed all of England yet. (very nearly did though)

The writing was so vivid and lively that you could feel the chill winter breeze or the sweltering heat of summer time. The descriptive detail allowed readers to immerse themselves into the novel without being bored by too much attention to detail.

Above all else, though, is that this book is believable. What is really important for a historical fiction is when the story could have actually happened in that time period. The author adds excerpts from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles to show that these large country changing events did occur at this time. I loved reading those excerpts intermixed with the story line.

The book comes out today and I highly recommend it to any one who loves historical fiction or political/royal drama. For an author’s first debut novel, this book is very well done.

WARNING: this book does contain rape and rape threats. It is an adult book and probably should not be read by those under 18.

My Rating: ★★★★★

      (this last one is my reaction to some of the characters’s decisions. not to the story/writing)