Customer Reviews for

The Forever Queen: The Lost Kingdom - 1066

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

Highly recommended

When 13 year old Emma arrived at the gates of the Canterbury Cathedral to do her duty by her Norman brother, little did she know that she would be marrying England for life. In 1002 the King of England, Æthelred the Unready, entered into an agreement with the Duke ...
When 13 year old Emma arrived at the gates of the Canterbury Cathedral to do her duty by her Norman brother, little did she know that she would be marrying England for life. In 1002 the King of England, Æthelred the Unready, entered into an agreement with the Duke of Normandy. Duke Richard would provide England with a much needed alliance against the raiding Northmen while King Æthelred would provide the newly formed Norman duchy with the stability of land and coin. And Emma was the key. She would wed a king 21 years her senior and be anointed England's Queen. Unlike all the queens before her and unlike most who followed, Emma's reign outlasted two husbands, two step-sons, and two sons; all of whom shared the crown with Emma during her lifetime. Beloved by her subjects, Emma was England's heart, its strength, and its hope for the future. The only anointed Queen for 5 of the last Saxon kings and aunt to the conquering Norman kings, Emma's bloodline has run through the veins of British monarchs and nobility throughout the ages. Helen Hollick brings the story of England's perpetual queen to life in The Forever Queen. Hollick captures the political intrigue of early Medieval England and presents with some of the most colorful characters to sit on the British throne. And, despite the historical record having very little information about Queen Emma (aside from the Encomium Emmæ Reginæ, a "spin" biography commissioned by Emma to give credence to her son's claim to the thrown), Hollick manages to see past the male monarchs of the time and find the unsung tale of Emma "Ælgifu" of England.

posted by Erin_N on January 2, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

I was really excited about this book, however, I find I am incre

I was really excited about this book, however, I find I am incredibly disappointed. The main character, Emma, starts out very strong but turns on you all too quickly. Who can identify with a mother who doesn't love her children? Not many people. You start out rootin...
I was really excited about this book, however, I find I am incredibly disappointed. The main character, Emma, starts out very strong but turns on you all too quickly. Who can identify with a mother who doesn't love her children? Not many people. You start out rooting for her because she is brave and end up hating her because she becomes selfish and obsessed with keeping her position no matter what she must sacrifice for it. The author and other characters never acknowledge this glaring flaw in her. I know the time was very different from our own but not enough effort was made to help you understand the world they lived in.

posted by 2035897 on March 24, 2012

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Weak Four Stars

    I think many people who like medieval "chick lit" will enjoy reading this, which is why I'm assigning it a higher rating than I normally would. It was not really my cup of tea, though, and I could not complete the book due to the rather bland storytelling. If you prefer something more robust in this genre, read Lady MacBeth, by Susan Fraser King, or for a bit of rough-and-tumble, Bernard Cornwell's excellent Saxon Tales series.

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 21, 2011

    Very historical, no fluff here

    I'm making up a new star 3.75. The research was 5 stars, the writing 3. There aren't many historical fiction books out there about this time period. Not only was Emma's story interesting, but this not as well known part of English history is fascinating. The author is correct in her notes that history has forgotten English Kings prior to William The Conqueror. This story starts with Emma being married to Aethelred aka The Ill advised King. She then goes onto marry Cnute, who will become king. This is not a spoiler alert, it is on the back cover. Then 2 of her Sons become King. Not to mention Stepsons. This book is filled with information. It is a must read for fans of English History. My issue with the writing was that it needed some editing. I also didn't like her style of starting a chapter and you not knowing who she was talking about until 3-6 paragraphs in. If you are looking for fluff or romance, this isn't it. The story is real and cruel at times. Some pages I couldn't put down others I could skim. I just received the follow up I Am the Chosen King, which I heard is a great read. I can't wait!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 7, 2011

    Interesting book

    Very enjoyble read. Lovers of historicsl fiction will like this book. Not too many books on this time period (1006 on). I enjoyed the history as well as the story. Emma is a very interesting lady.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    vividly written account of a marvelous queen

    This book took me a while to get in to- there were so many characters introduced, the setting was always shifting, and the language and vocabulary took some time to get adjusted to and learn. But once I got the hang of it (about a hundred pages in!) I loved it. Couldn't put it down until I was done. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series. The author draws the scenes and characters so vividly, it is like you are there.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Good research

    I think was an extremely well researched book, so that is why the high star rating... It wasn't really a story about Emma, but more of a story about the entire period with multiple main characters. I did enjoy it and will read her other books.

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  • Posted June 26, 2013

    The Forever Queen is the story of Emma of Normandy who became Qu

    The Forever Queen is the story of Emma of Normandy who became Queen Aelfgifu when she was married at age 13 to England's King Aethelred and was given as little choice about her public name as her husband. Her story encompasses England's Saxon history through Aethelred's reign, that of his son Edmund, Danish invader Cnut, and two of her own son's . . . oh, and there's a bastard usurper in there for a few years as well. Having not spend much time reading about this era (1002-1042), I found this book a good combination of entertaining and educational.

    Hollick does an excellent job of making the people and places of a millennia ago come alive and giving those people plausible motivations and personalities where history may have not left us much information to go on. I appreciate the fact that she seems to include as much as we do know and only use artistic license to fill in the gaps, and she admits where this occurs in her author's notes.

    Though Emma is a cold, vain, and ambitious woman, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her when all that she had worked for (more than once) seems to fall apart, mostly because she is a woman who has to work through a husband or son to govern England. She soon forgets her Norman roots and considers herself English and by far the best person to be running the place. If only she didn't need some incompetent male to stand behind! I could only be partially sympathetic when her neglected children end up disappointing her.

    This novel was a great way to learn about England's history before the Norman Conquest. (It is hinted at: "The boy is too base-born to rise higher." Well, maybe not.) Be prepared though. Hollick gives the most charming and likeable personalities to those who die before their time! We are not given much opportunity to mourn these people though. Due to the author's habit of ending a chapter with a sudden death and picking up the next chapter some time later, your eyes barely have a chance to well up before you realize the story has already moved on.

    Besides the fact that I found Emma somewhat unlikeable, though realistic, Hollick's habit of having short choppy chapters that make great leaps in time was my only other serious complaint. This seems to be more of an issue in the first half of the book. I'm not sure if it was due to the lack of information about the times, forcing her to work with what was available or some other reason that caused these stunted chapters that didn't always add much to the story. The time jumps between chapters sometimes left me wondering what had happened to what I was just reading about, but if I had to choose between accuracy or better flow, I am glad the author chose to not fill in gaps that could not be filled with anything known.

    I have had this book on my shelf for a while, but now that I have read it I am ready to carry on with it's sequel, "I am the Chosen King." Hollick has raised my interest in a period of history that I had previously ignored, and I am anxious to stay with her story.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    Great book about very early British rulers

    I loved this book , it told the story of how Britian was established. The alliances made with other countries to maintain peace and gain property.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    The Forever Queen my forever favorite

    Now on to I Am The Chosen King

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2011

    A great read

    I really enjoyed this history lesson with a fictional twist. It eas hard to put down. I plan on reading more ofher books.

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  • Posted August 8, 2011

    Love this period of history..great book

    Enjoyed this book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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