Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick

In the year 1002 thirteen year old Emma of Normandy is taken to England and given in marriage to AEthelred the king, who is an old man of thirty four. Like women down the ages, she had no choice in the matter and she instantly dislikes her new husband, a weak man with violent tendencies. She herself is distrusted from the start for her blood ties to the Vikings that habitually raid the English coast.

But Emma surprises herself, the stress of her situation results is something she didn't expect...turns out she is strong, feisty, brave in the face of her husband and the yes-men he surrounds himself with. While she can't quite bring herself to care even for her children, she grows to love the English people and they love her in return.

A weak king can only hold out for so long, especially against a strong, determined enemy like the Scandinavian king, Swein Forkbeard. With the Viking victory comes another sweeping change for Emma, her life and her future. She is equal to the challenge.

Helen Hollick

Those of you who have long been readers of this blog will know that Helen is one of my very favorite authors (and it isn't because she sends me Christmas cards, though I will say that receiving hers is the highlight of my holiday cards!!!). I picked up The Kingmaking in London in the early 1990's and that trilogy is still right at the top of my favorite books list. (Click on the titles for my reviews: The Kingmaking, Pendragon's Banner, Shadow of the King.) The Forever Queen is another fantastic historical fiction novel. It is classic Helen: meticulously researched, beautifully written, and with the intricacies of ancient politics simply and fascinatingly related so the reader feels completely at home in that time period. If you love historical fiction and have never read a Helen Hollick book, pick up The Forever Queen! By the time you finish you will be putting all the rest of them on your wishlist!

The Forever Queen is published by Sourcebooks. ISBN 978-1-4022-4068-3

For more information about Helen and all of her wonderful books, please visit her website and blog. She was recently featured in an interesting BBC radio program about Harold, the last Saxon king, you can listen to that here (but the site says it will only be up for four more days, so hurry!)

Here's a list of blogs participating in the Sourcebooks Fall Reading Club event for The Forever Queen:

















Book Club Chat on


Mystica said...

I've read about this book and everything has been so positive. Sounds a very good book.

Michele said...

Helen is simply magical....every time I read one of her books, I am transported to a whole new world. And wow - you get Christmas cards from her? (Green with envy!) But then again, your Christmas cards are pretty danged cool, too!

bermudaonion said...

That sounds like the perfect book for you!

nomadreader said...

I'm really fascinated about this time period and looking forward to this one. I also bought the Kingmaking trilogy for my Kindle when it was on sale last week!

Zibilee said...

I won the Kingmaking trilogy a few months ago, and am so looking forward to reading it. I also think this book sounds very good, and like the fact that it deals with such a strong female in history. I am going to have to add this one to my list. Also, how awesome is it that Helen Hollick sends you Christmas cards?? That totally rocks!

Helen Hollick said...

I'm stunned (and pleased!) that my Christmas card list is so appreciated! (perhaps I ought to start thinking about THIS year's list - Christmas is aporoaching at a rather fast gallop)

Thank you for mentioning the radio programme as well - I had great fun doing the recording, although I was nervouse on the day of broadcast (Monday 15th November) as I was worrying that I maybe I hadn't spoken up for Harold well enough. Turned out to be just fine.

Thanks again!

Unknown said...

Your statement is so correct - this was my first book by Helen and I then put all of her others on my wish list after finishing it! A truely wonderful read.

Thoughts from an Evil Overlord

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New Hampshire, United States
Bibliophile, Anglophile, Traveller... I have been an avid reader all of my life, since I took the Dr. Seuss Dictionary away from my Mom when I was less than a year old because I wanted to read it myself. In college, where I earned my degree in English Literature, I was often asked "What are you going to do with it?" Now I finally have the answer to that question!!! Being employed as a Flight Attendant for twenty years has given me a lot of life experience and, better still, a lot of time to read. I love to travel for fun, too.