Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick (Book Review)
Shared by Kristi Herbrand
Title: The Forever Queen
Author: Helen Hollick
About the Book: Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people-no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for England, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different kings, the mother of two more, and the great aunt of William the Conqueror. (from Shelfari)
My thoughts: I have been trying to read more historical fiction as I feel grossly ignorant of history - especially English history. I realize this is fiction - but Ms. Hollick has always done a wonderful job of sticking very closely to the facts and weaving a wonderfully rich story around them.
I had never heard of Emma (or Aethelred or Cnut) so was really interested to learn more about his young Queen. At the age of 13 she was given by her brother in marriage to Aethelred - who was 34. (and to think it upsets me when my 16 year old wants to date an 18 year old. . . ) I was very impressed by her bravery in facing this situation with her head held high. She married this man, and was not even able to speak his language! Within that first year of marriage, she lost her innocence, two close friends, suffered a lingering illness, and began to fall in love with England. It wasn't long before she had fully embraced the role of Queen and wasn't afraid to speak her mind.
At the end of the book I read how Ms. Hollick had actually left out some of the characters as the roles they played in history were small ones. Whew! Am I ever thankful for that. Though I do enjoy her writing very much - as she writes about history in such a way that my non-history brain can understand it, following the people, with their often similar names, can be challenging. She does provide a family tree in the beginning and a list of pronunciations, but it wasn't after I was in the story that I was able to follow the tree. As for the pronunciations, they usually come over time.
This book is not for the light-hearted, as it is filled with political shenanigans, treachery, not-so-pleasant deaths, but a proud and fiercely loyal Queen emerges. This book is a must for historical fiction fans! Please visit some of the other stops on the tour for other reviews and some great interviews with the author!
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The Forever Queen
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks, Nov 2010