So even though I love Historical Fiction, I have been pretty narrow in the type or time period of books that I tend to choose. Ancient Egypt? Check! Ancient Rome? Check! Tudor England? Double Check! Maybe it’s because I know the most about those time periods, that I have kept my forays into Historical Fiction limited to just a few. I’ve long been thinking that I need to expand my horizons, but where would I start? Well the answer ended up being hidden in what seems to be my never ending Goodreads TBR list where I had marked a book as to read a long time ago and then promptly forgot about it. That book is Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell.
In Shadow on the Crown, we are taken to England; medieval England to be exact. We are introduced to Emma of Normandy (a French province) just before she crosses the narrow sea (the English Channel) to marry King Æthelred II (c.968 – April 1016), also known as Æthelred the Unready. From the moment Emma arrives in England, she faces nothing but challenges, heartbreak, and fear. Quite honestly, even with knowing a little bit of history of that time period, Patricia Bracewell still managed to surprise and entertain me with not only the events, but the characters themselves.
Now I personally have two copies of Shadow on the Crown. I have one hardcover copy as well as one audiobook copy. While I started off reading my physical copy and was hooked, I loved it so much that I bought the audio book so I could listen to it during my workday. Yes, Shadow on the Crown is just that good. Patricia Bracewell has managed to take a often forgotten about period of English history and weave a stunning and complex tale. Likewise, Katie Firth, who narrates the audiobook version, manages to take each character voice and bring them to life in her narration.
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell, be it in print or an audiobook, is an amazing, compelling tale of one of histories most fascinating periods. I can’t wait until book two, The Price of Blood, in the Emma of Normandy series is released in February 2015.