From the Publisher:
What kind of woman becomes the wife of two kings, and the mother of two more?
Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom—and her crown—are to be salvaged. Smarter than history remembers, and stronger than the foreign invaders who threaten England’s shores, Emma risks everything on a gamble that could either fulfill her ambitions and dreams or destroy her completely.
Emma, the Queen of Saxon England, comes to life through the exquisite writing of Helen Hollick, who shows in this epic tale how one of the most compelling and vivid heroines in English history stood tall through a turbulent fifty-year reign of proud determination, tragic despair, and triumph over treachery.
Every so often a book comes along that takes the reader’s breath away, fully engaging the reader for days on end, transporting the reader to another place and time in history and The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick is just such a book. The Forever Queen is quite a tome, but once one begins the reader would have it no other way, as one is immediately transported back to 1002 Canterbury where the reader is introduced to 13-year-old Lady Emma who is awaiting her wedding to 34-year-old King Aethelred. A marriage arranged by her brother Richard to forge relations between Britain and Normandy, where Emma has no voice to object. Soon young Lady Emma becomes Queen Aelfgifu Regina, Queen of England. The injustices Emma endures along with the strength she finds in unlikely friends and a coming of her own, Emma is indeed a true heroine. Hollick’s diligence to history shines through in her descriptive writings of the shires, the people, their languages, dress, food, and customs along with her detailed and descriptive battle scenes. Hollick’s command of weaving together historical facts with imagined events is pure brilliance. Hollick masterfully conveys so many elements that make up a book well worth savouring; fear, jealousy, romance, mystery, intrigue, treason, compassion, and an all around extraordinary cast of characters, many are not as they seem and some are downright dreadful yet the story would not be the same without each and every one. The Forever Queen grabs the reader from the first page and keeps the reader fully engaged until the very end, making it an unforgettable read. A remarkable time in history is transformed into a engaging and delightful novel which will take the reader through a full series of emotions all the while cheering for young Emma, forced into a foreign land with a language she could neither speak nor understand, and a marriage and position she never wished for, to watching her transform into adulthood, becomes a mother and a force to be reckoned with. I cannot adequately praise The Forever Queen enough. Without hesitation I recommend The Forever Queen to all readers, especially those who enjoy historical fiction. While the book is long, I believe a book group could have great fun with this book over a series of time, as there is much to be discussed and debated over in The Forever Queen.
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I received a complimentary copy of The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick from Sourcebooks. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.