Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Review: "The Northern Queen" by Kelly Evans

From Goodreads:  St. Brice’s Day, England, 1002. At the order of King Aethelred, thousands of Danes are murdered in a frenzy of ethnic cleansing.

Outraged, the Danish King, Sweyn Forkbeard, swears he will take Aethedred’s head, and his crown. But Sweyn needs allies. Chief amongst his supporters is Aelfgifu, an English noblewoman and head of a once great family.

She has her own reasons to hate Aethelred, and as a pagan, she is sympathetic to the Danish cause. When Aelfgifu marries Sweyn’s son, Canute, war is inevitable.

But if Aethelred is weak, his Norman queen is not. And Emma will stop at nothing to destroy the woman at the heart of the Viking army.

Love, ambition and revenge combine in an epic struggle for justice during the most turbulent period in England’s history.

My Thoughts:  This book was such a surprise to me!  I had no idea what to expect going into it but I ended up really enjoying the story.  I have read very little about this period in English history but now I think I need to read more because I was completely captivated by the story of Aelfgifu.  Hers is a story filled with action, adventure and romance and it sucked me in through the very last page.

Aelfgifu is the quintessential heroine.  She is smart and tough and always seems able to handle whatever life life throws at her.  She is such an honorable character and I couldn't help but root for her throughout the book.  I also love that she is portrayed as such a loving mother who would do anything to protect her children and their birthright.  Emma is very clearly the villain in this story but I also thought she was an interesting character.  She was conniving and violent but beneath that she was also a strong woman trying to deal with the hardships life threw at her.  While I did not like her at all, I kind of felt bad for her and her circumstances.

In addition to great characters, the story has a really cool setting.  The reader gets to see England, Denmark and Norway as well as the people of those countries and their customs.  I liked reading about how each country governed themselves and their way of life; it was truly fascinating.

Overall, The Northern Queen is a great read for anyone interested in lesser known historical periods and those who just love a good story.  4 stars.

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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