Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell


A rich tale of power and forbidden love revolving around a young medieval queen

In 1002, fifteen­-year-old Emma of Normandy crosses the Narrow Sea to wed the much older King Athelred of England, whom she meets for the first time at the church door. Thrust into an unfamiliar and treacherous court, with a husband who mistrusts her, stepsons who resent her and a bewitching rival who covets her crown, Emma must defend herself against her enemies and secure her status as queen by bearing a son.

Determined to outmaneuver her adversaries, Emma forges alliances
with influential men at court and wins the affection of the English people. But her growing love for a man who is not her husband and the imminent threat of a Viking invasion jeopardize both her crown and her life.

Based on real events recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Shadow on the Crown introduces readers to a fascinating, overlooked period of history and an unforgettable heroine whose quest to find her place in the world will resonate with modern readers.

My Review:

I absolutely loved “Shadow on the Crown” by Patricia Bracewell. Not only because of her captivating writing style and thorough research, but also because I had never heard of or read about Emma of Normandy before this novel, so it was great to learn about a different historical figure! The author’s writing style is very fluid and detailed, as well as interesting. It was difficult for me to put the book down once I started reading it, and it was easy to lose track of time once I started. I loved that Patricia Bracewell stayed true to the historical facts, but also incorporated things like forbidden love and intrigue within the novel. I also enjoyed the rivalry between Emma and Elgiva. It added drama to the novel, and provided a foil for Emma.

I think of myself as a knowledgeable person when it comes to knowing about kings and queens of England, so coming across a novel about a queen I had never heard of grabbed my interest right away. I definitely fell in love with Emma’s character in this novel, and my interest in this time period has been piqued. This novel is the first installment in a series of three, so I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series!

I would definitely suggest this novel to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially those who are tired of reading the hundreds of books about the Tudors or Plantagenet’s. It was refreshing to read about a different figure in England’s history, especially one as captivating as Emma of Normandy. Like I said, I had never heard of her before, and I had no problem understanding what was going on, so don’t feel as though you need to ‘read up’ on Emma before buying this novel.

I gave Shadow on the Crown a five out of five stars! I have a feeling that I’ll be giving all of the books in this series a five out of five!


  1. I'm enjoying reading this one right now.
    Sweet review :)

  2. Loved your review. I just read Shadow on the Crown and loved it. She holds the reader's interest to her story without a doubt and at the same time she's woven in this far away world in so skillfully. I had Patricia come speak to our Arizona chapter of the Historical Novel Society and she was such a good speaker. I'll second your recommendation to anyone who likes historical fiction--this is definitely a good book to read!

  3. I love historical fiction and I'm always looking for new books to read!

  4. My last name is also Maloney....crazy! :)
    I'm reading a novel called "The Queen's Gambit" by Elizabeth Fremantle right now....I'll be reviewing it soon. It's about Katherine Parr (Henry VIII's 6th and final wife). It's really good, too!