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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King


Queen Hereafter by Susan Fraser King
Hardcover, 352 pages
Crown Publishers
December 7, 2010
★★★★☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received ARC as part of TLC Book Tours for Review

"Margaret, a young Saxon princess, is shipwrecked with her family on the coast of Scotland and forced to accept sanctuary from the recently widowed warrior-king Malcolm Canmore of Scotland. Malcolm sees a political prize in Margaret, and promises to help her brother, the outlawed rebel Edgar of England, in return for his sister’s hand in marriage. 
When Malcolm brings a female bard, Eva, to court as a hostage to ensure good behavior of her kinswoman, his conniving enemy Lady Macbeth, Margaret, and Eva expect to resent one another. Instead, they discover an unlikely bond as outcasts of a sort–Eva a wild Celtic spirit captive among her enemies, Margaret suppressing her passions as she endures increasing pressure as a queen and a mother of princes. 
Torn between loyalties, Eva must betray the king and the new queen in order to honor her devotion to the former queen. Thrown into Malcolm’s dungeon, charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva soon learns that Queen Margaret–counseled by the furious king and his powerful priests–will decide the fate of the young bard and her mentor, the troublesome Lady Macbeth."
The story of Margaret of Scotland is told through the eyes of fictional female bard Eva. It can sometimes be a challenge to place a fictional main character into a world in which all other essential characters are historically based but Fraser King seamlessly moves Eva through the Scottish court life without ever hinting that she doesn’t truly belong there. You could really believe the struggles that Eva faced being torn between the court in the North and the true royal court of Scotland. Another strength of the author was the ease of explanation and integration of the “wild” Scottish court’s ways and the Scottish traditions.

The two women that Eva’s loyalties are torn between are Margaret and Gruadh (Lady Macbeth). These two women were absolute foils of each other. Margaret was very, very pious (almost to the point of the unbelievable) while Gruadh was more out for her people and loyalty to Scottish traditions. As a reader, you are able to respect what both of these women are trying to do without pitting one against the other.

This was a quick read that introduced me to a new court and a new country and historical setting. I think that this is a great companion novel to Helen Hollick’s The Forever Queen and the soon to be released I Am the Chosen King. Hollick’s books are set one generation prior to the events of Queen Hereafter. Events are referenced in Fraser King’s book that took place in Hollick’s book. It was great to already be set into the time and have a knowledge base from which to build off of. I can’t wait to read Lady Macbeth, also by Susan Fraser King, which is set during the events just prior to Queen Hereafter. I also can put some of my Shakespearean knowledge of my favorite play to use for something.

You can visit Susan Fraser King at her website for more information about her books. You can also read an excerpt of the book to get you in the mood.
 
Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

You can check out the rest of Susan Fraser King’s tour stops:

Monday, December 6th: Royal Reviews
Tuesday, December 7th: Passages to the Past
Wednesday, December 8th: Stiletto Storytime
Thursday, December 9th: Scandalous Women
Friday, December 10th: Historical Tapestry
Friday, December 10th: Rundpinne
Monday, December 13th: Books Like Breathing
Monday, December 13th: Life in Review
Tuesday, December 14th: Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, December 15th: Hist-Fic Chick
Thursday, December 16th: Luxury Reading
Friday, December 17th: Simply Stacie
Monday, December 20th: Feminist Review
Tuesday, December 21st: The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, December 22nd: Girls Gone Reading
Thursday, December 23rd: Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
Monday, December 27th: Teresa’s Reading Corner
Tuesday, December 28th: The Tome Traveller
Wednesday, December 29th: Chaotic Compendiums




Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court

5 comments:

  1. Great review! I have this book on my wishlist and I am happy to hear it's a good read.

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  2. Great review! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. How nice of you to suggest companion reads!! Thank you so much for being on the tour.

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  3. I can't wait to begin this book... I must finish my next two reads so I can sit down and enjoy it. It sounds wonderful and I am equally excited to read Lady MacBeth soon after!

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  4. Irena - It was definately a good read.

    Lisa - Thanks for working with me, I really enjoyed being a part of this tour.

    Svea - I am so excited to get to Lady Macbeth. I have been trying to get to it for a little while now.

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  5. Heather, thanks for the lovely review - I'm delighted that you liked the book. Interesting comment about Margaret being almost unbelievably pious! I guess she would seem that way to us now, though that's apparently what she was, and even more so, particularly as she got a bit older. The focus of the novel is her years as a young wife, mother and queen, so hopefully she's an accessible character for the modern reader despite that! Hope you enjoy Lady Macbeth when you find time to read it!

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