When King Aethelred is left wifeless, he knows he must marry again. He eyes the temptress, Elgiva, daughter of his most powerful councilor. Wary and paranoid of others, he looks across the narrow sea to the Duke of Normandy to provide a bride. Choosing an alliance to end the Viking Raids, Emma is chosen to be Aethered's bride, even though she is young. When the clever Emma arrives at England, she is greeted by a harsh land, a mad king, Viking Raids, a jealous rival, and a stepson young enough to be her husband.
Having previously read a book on Emma of Normandy, I knew that I wanted to revisit this amazing woman. Bracewell transports readers back to the misty coasts of England. Aethelred the Unready is cunning, mad and paranoid. He views his new wife harshly, not bothering to hide his disgust and hatred of her. Being a foreigner in a divided and politically hostile court is no easy position, but Emma manages to shine. Her strength and wisdom sharply contrast her isolation as the new Queen. The romantic tension in the book really adds to the book, while the Viking Raids and violence keep this book from becoming a romantic book. Bracewell brings Emma to life. Love, power, war and rage all shadow the Crown of England and those destined to wear it in this amazing debut novel.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the review copy.
Patricia Bracewell's next book, Perilous Tide, will continue Emma's Story.