Monday, November 8, 2010

Blog Tour-The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

Helen Hollick
Sourcebooks Inc.
656 pages
Publication Date: November 2010

Synopsis from Sourcebooks

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."


Until I read The Forever Queen, given a choice, if queried to name a favorite Queen in history, hands down I would choose Queen Elizabeth or Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine. The schema most readers, including this reader, most likely possess about Emma of Normandy, who reigned as queen of England with two different kings would most likely be insubstantial. When you read Helen Hollick’s portrayal of the prideful and perspicacious Emma from the 11th century, you may have a new royal to consider among your best-loved Queens.

I do love Queen Emma. I guarantee after reading this historical fiction, she will become endeared to most readers, at the very least a curious fascination. In April 1002, Emma, at thirteen is ripped from her family and native Normandy and sent to marry King Aethelred of England, an aging king. She despises him on sight, he repulses her. And so her life story begins in this magnificent historical fiction marathon that has the potential to sabotage many readers’ will power to put this book down.

Queen Emma is a glorious monarch, strong with unwavering pride and resilience. Her keen intellect and quick wit are a match for any who try to challenge her. She is respected for her competence and loyalty and loved as Queen. She endures horrible abuse by one husband and delights in the passionate love by another. Her subtle power and influence and her innate ability to understand her people and her role as Queen are a testament to her historical significance.

The Forever Queen is the first book in what is planned as a trilogy with the next book called Harold the King. A brilliant and totally fulfilling escape back to Anglo-Saxon England, The Forever Queen is a definite snuggle up with a good book read!


Disclosure: ARC copy of The Forever Queen was sent by the publisher.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2010].


serendipity_viv said...

To be married at 13, I didn't realise that ever occurred in England. I like the sound of this book and the series. I would definitely buy this one.

Helen Hollick said...

It was very common for young girls to be married at puberty, Vivienne. For one thing life expectancy was not as long as now, and marriage for an alliance meant there had to be sons... 4 out of 10 women died in childbirth.

Some girls (and boys!) were betrothed as very young children - even toddlers, although they were not expected to go to the "marriage bed" until around 14 - 16 years of age.

Romeo's Juliet was only 14

Thank you for the wonderful review and for inviting me onto your blog - I've enjoyed browsing!

wisteria said...

Vivienne...How are you? Knowing your love of historical fiction, this should not slip by you. The book is phenomenal...absolutely one of my top pics for 2010.

Helen...I am honored you stopped by to visit. Thank you. Your book is amazing, your writing gripping and vivid. I felt I was transported back to Emma's world. It was as if you had lived there yourself. I'm impressed. Reading your story was a warm sensory reading experience. I can't wait to read the next book in your trilogy, and given more time (lol) catch up on the books your wrote that I have sadly missed.