Emma of Normandy is as fascinating as any of the Queens of England that came after her. Why doesn't she get her due in historical fiction? She was a political pawn, trapped in a loveless marriage, and involved in a dangerous world featuring Viking raiders. She makes the perfect subject for a novel! Thankfully in "Shadow on the Crown" by Patrica Bracewell, readers meet Emma of Normandy!
The novel follows Emma of Normandy's journey as Queen of England. The pretty and sweet 15 year-old leaves behind her home and happy family to marry King Athelred of England. The marriage is a disaster from the start. King Athelred has no use for his lovely bride and often neglects her. As a result, the two turn from each other. King Athelred turns to the gorgeous and seductive, Elgiva, a wealthy woman of the court who wants what Emma has, the crown. Meanwhile, Emma turns to someone dangerous, the eldest son of her husband, Athelstan. The novel follows Emma's unhappiness in a loveless and cruel marriage, her longing for another, and the danger of the Viking raiders. "Shadow on the Crown" is the first novel in a look at the life of Emma of Normandy.
"Shadow on the Crown" is an excellent debut for Bracewell. She takes a woman and a time period rarely covered in historical fiction and brings her story to life. Bracewell's portrayal of Emma is very strong. Emma is intelligent, kind, and loyal. She is a true heroine.
Bracewell also does a nice job with the secondary characters. King Athelred is cruel and cold, but often he has moments where the reader will find sympathy for him. Athelstan is gallant and dashing, but also complex. Elgiva is fascinating as she uses her sexuality to get what she wants and lashes out when she fails. These are very well-developed characters.
Bracewell should be applauded for her debut into the historical fiction world. Readers can look forward to more works on Emma and her journey in the future!
To purchase "Shadow on the Crown": http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Crown-Novel-Patricia-Bracewell/dp/0670026395
For more information on Patrica Bracewell: http://www.patriciabracewell.com/