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The Forever Queen: Sometimes, a Desperate Kingdom Is in Need of One Great Woman (The Saxon Series #1)

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  2,837 ratings  ·  356 reviews

Married to a king incompetent both on the throne and in bed, Emma does not love her husband. But she does love England. Even as her husband fails, Emma vows to protect her people-no matter what. For five decades, through love and loss, prosperity and exile, Emma fights for England, becoming the only woman to have been anointed, crowned, and reigning queen to two different

ebook, 656 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published August 5th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Cathy Douglas
Hmm, well. I finished it, which at 600+ pages means I must have liked it at least a little. It's one of those cases, common with historical fiction, where I liked the story but not the book.

Little is known of the historic Emma of Normandy's life, but what we do know is jam-packed with material for a historical romance: She was married to both Ethelred the Unready and his usurper, the viking who the English came to call Canute the Great. When it came time for her eldest son to inherit the throne
"There is the type of woman you love for your need and the type you need because of your love. The two are not the same, and only the fortunate manage to find the second."

This is my first non philipa gregory "kings and queens" book, and I really enjoyed it. I got a strong sense of what it was like to live in England at that time. As this is 11th century history, a lot of interpretation has to happen to build a story based on the known facts. I did not agree with all of the author's views (for i
Christy English
I actually read the US version called THE FOREVER QUEEN. I am now devoted to Emma...what a woman. Thank you Helen Hollick for introducing me to such an amazing person.
English is my first language so I have certain expectations that books written in English might be grammatically correct. The grammatical lapses in the book make reading it jarring. There is also lots of bad writing. For example, some of the more risibly memorable items I read aloud to my husband.."hung like a stone", 'the option of choice', 'a mixture of displeasure'. This book should have had an editor. I remember one sentence "Money gives way to prejudice". I'm pretty sure the author meant "P ...more
Blodeuedd Finland

Emma of Normany married King Aethelred when she was 13. One son would become Edward the Confessor. But the Swein Forkbeard of Denmark invaded together with his son Cnut, and all was lost. But Emma was one strong woman who after her husband's death married Cnut, and once again reigned as queen of England.

My thoughts:

I loved it, the story was so rich in history and details, and it was exactly like a good historical novel should be like. Following the facts, but still inventing and creating a
Writers such as Helen Hollick really do breathe life into historical fiction, making it a joy for me to experience this previously little read era. With a lesser writer this could have been a disaster, but Helen Hollick takes a huge cast of characters and a complex, eventful period in history (1002 - 1042) and weaves an enthralling tale backed by meticulous research and insightful, convincing embellishment.

"Emma is the only woman to have been an anointed, crowned and reigning queen to two differ
(4.5 stars?) Oh Emma, what a interesting life you led?! This doorstopper of a books takes place from 1002-1042 primarily in Saxon England but some parts in Denmark and Normandy. No other Queen was wife to two Kings of England and mother to two more! Hollick tells a complex entertaining story of Emma's life.

Married to Aethelred first, Emma is unhappy and I think this is the slowest moving part of the book and I will agree with other reviewers that is a little wordy at times in this section. Howev
With over six hundred and fifty pages, this book chronicles the struggles of Queen Emma "Elgifu" of England. This story goes on for what seems like forever (now I understand the naming of the book FOREVER QUEEN!) and then on the last page you feel like the balls been dropped. It just ends...literally. When you read the brief note from the author following the last chapter you find out that this is a series not a novel! I so taken with interest I am willing to continue reading the next book "I Am ...more
Marie Z. Johansen
As most of you who have followed my reviews for any length of time know I am a real European history buff - especially British history. I have to admit, however, that I have never known much about the early history of Britain and very little about Anglo Saxon history. Therefore, I was quite happy to have been given an opportunity to read "The Forever Queen" whose time frame is 1066. Weaving a plot with many diverse characters, warring factions in areas that no longer even exist and a very involv ...more
One of the most satisfying reads I've had in months. Go. Get. This. Book...if you like well-told historical fiction.. If you want at last to fall into the arms of a writer who knows how to lure you into a tale and create women who aren't victims again.

And don't be put off by the period...yes, it isn't those head-chopping Tudors or the silk and satined Georgians but if you know little about early British history you come out of this book with a wider knowledge...and quite a take on Canute, the on
Helen Hollick brings the turbulent 11th century England to life like only she can!

Emma is 13 when she leaves her homeland in Normandy to wed the much older King Aethelred of England. Like most royal marriages, their union is one bred solely for matters of state. She arrives in a strange country, bewildered and timid and her husband’s court filled with hostile people who don’t speak her language. Though outwardly she seems young and unsure, people soon learn that Emma knows her mind and is quick
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 bo ...more
Rio (Lynne)
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. Th ...more
The Forever Queen is the story of a powerful woman. Emma grows into this state of being because of all of the things that she has to deal with. As a young girl she is married to King Æthelred – a man who does not treat her well. She gains strength from this and uses it as a catalyst to continually push forward and never back. She is certainly a woman that should be celebrated for her accomplishments and it is certainly a shame that she has almost been forgotten by history.

Typically I hate readin
After reading the sample of "The Forever Queen" I was delighted that it seemed to indeed be historic fiction and NOT historic romance. I was looking forward to reading this story about a strong Saxon Queen, because I've really enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles and thought it would be interesting to see this period from a woman's perspective. After I purchased the book and continued reading, I found I was enjoying Hollick's writing so much I impulsively purchased her next book, "I Am th ...more
Jeanne Dunn
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, particularly anything set in England, Scotland, or Ireland, which meant this book had a really good chance of being a winner with me. (That, and I got it at a terrific bargain price for my Kindle!)

Helen Hollick has obviously done her homework; it tells in the details. From the small bits of documentation that have survived since circa 1000 a.d., she has created a rich, accessible, realistic depiction of Queen Emma's world.

I was a little chagrinn
Nov 02, 2010 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Staci by: Sourcebooks
Shelves: 2010-reads
Why I wanted to read this book:

* I am a huge fan of historical fiction and truly enjoy this genre. What really drew me to this story was that I had never heard of Queen Emma and I wanted to learn more about her life.

What worked for me:

* The descriptions! Wow..I felt like I was there in medieval England. Hollis has a magical way with her words which really brought the story to life for me.

* Emma- She is an amazing woman and I'm truly astounded that more books have not been written about her. T
This book was a 4 1/2 stars for me. I enjoy reading about women that have some form of power during a time when women had very little rights. Hollick's writing was excellent, the names of the characters at times would get a bit confusing because they were so much alike but overall I didn't feel at a loss for what was happening within the story. I liked reading about Emma's story and her some times difficult struggle to retain her crown and her love of the people of England.
Given that Hollick didn't have much historical information to go on... her interpretation of the limited resources was remarkably well done!!! In short this novel was FANTASTIC!!! Another of the many things I love about historical fiction is that nothing is certain... it very rarely wraps up with a neatly tied bow!!! Sometimes your favorite character dies... sometimes the villain succeeds!!! I highly, highly recommend & I can't wait to read I Am The Chosen King!!!
What a great surprise! I love it when GR or the digital library recommends books to me based on what I've read & they are right. Really hit it out of the park with this recommendation.

Although I've read other biographies & historical fiction dealing with the middle ages, I haven't read or really know much about this time period 950-1044 AD in European history or the Vikings. So I went into this book pretty ignorant of this particular time period. That didn't last long. Hollick quickly t
Annika Hipple
I really wanted to love this book, because I adore good historical fiction and find this era of British history fascinating, though I don't know as much about it as the later Middle Ages. This book seemed like a great opportunity to learn more through the eyes of a strong, intriguing female character. Unfortunately, the reality of the book did not live up to the promise.

The Forever Queen started out fairly strong, as the 13-year-old Emma of Normandy arrives in England to marry the much older Ki
Very detailed and descriptive, written with an authentic feeling style, it's an epic medieval saga about a lesser known queen (Emma of Normandy), caught up in the turmoil between England and Denmark. However, because it is written in third person, the story also follows many other characters so this is not solely a tale of one woman. At times, the title even felt misleading, particularly in the middle section when Emma does not even seem to be the main character. This is not a criticism, just an ...more
I know I keep saying this over and over but I LOVE Helen Hollick. I am going to get on a plane, travel to England, seek her out, and kiss her on the cheek for writing such beautiful (and accurate) historical fiction. I would also like to add that this book is the first book with one of my blog blurbs in it. *happy dance ensues* Anyway...back to the important stuff. Helen Hollick writes in a way that makes history come to life in an intimate and entertaining way. Every time I pick up one of her b ...more
Ellen Ekstrom
I enjoyed this book - it was 'primer' on Anglo-Saxon England and politics for me, subjects I'm not familiar with. It wasn't exactly a page turner, but I found myself wanting to finish it because I wanted to know what happened, as I liked the unlikeable main character, Emma AElfgifu, queen first to AEthelred the Unready, and then Cnut. Ms. Hollick gives us a protagonist who is a child bride of 13, newly-arrived from Normandy with no family, friends, or knowledge of the language in her new kingdom ...more
A very enjoyable depiction of a remarkable woman's life. Not being familiar with the period, I can't comment on the historical accuracy, but the story seemed plausible and there was nothing that threw me out of the story. I had a few minor issues with it, which prevent me giving it five stars: it started off somewhat slowly, and it took some time for me to become absorbed with the story (at one stage, I put the novel down and went onto something else). The narrative is third person limited, but ...more
Sharon A.
Note to self: any book with the word "forever" in the title is probably going to drag on; well, forever.

I love historical fiction, especially royal historical fiction, like a fat kid loves cake, but there are way too many of these books that take on a lengthy, convoluted part of history and try to portray the length and breadth of a life.

This book tells the story of Emma, who in 1002, as a 13-year-old girl from Normandy, is given to the 30-something King of England as a wife. I could certainly
I have very mixed feelings about this novel. It is a big, sprawling, somewhat messy, oftentimes slow, fictionalized account of a not very well known Queen of England. Emma of Normandy was married to two Kings of England, was crowned Queen of England and was the mother of two other Kings of England. She was also the Great-Aunt of William the Conqueror. Quite a pedigree. We start the story when she is 13 and married to a much older man, who is also a brute. Unfortunately or fortunately, her experi ...more
This is a hard book to review because I sincerely admire Hollick's skill with creating real characters and a coherent narrative out of the thin details of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. This book is a real feat of imagination, and there is no doubt that Hollick has a real talent.
What Hollick needs, however, is an editor who will ruthlessly pare down the purple prose and lop out the unnecessary filler that swells this novel into a doorstop.
There are scores of distracting vignettes that lift us away
From sparse historical data, Hollick pieces together the story of Emma, daughter of Richard I of Normandy, just as she has been contracted to marry King Aethelred of England. We follow her life as a young girl matched with an ineffectual and quick tempered husband as she slowly comes into herself. As she makes friends and grows confident, we see the beginnings of a loyal and charismatic leader.

Emma's world is full of violence, political intrigue, war and uncertainty - which makes for a gripping
Kate E
I picked this book up randomly from Amazon for my Kindle based on the title, cover, and summary of the book, and I was very pleasantly surprised with it. Forever Queen details the life of the little-known Queen Emma, the first queen in England's history to remain queen for 2 successive monarchies and connecting Normandy with Britain. Her first marriage, at the age of 14, with King Aethelred the Unready and King Cnut of Denmark. What most impressed me about the book was the way that various chara ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 17, 2015 11:42AM  
The Challenge Fac...: ☼ Jenne & Marty ~ The Forever Queen 25 17 Jun 22, 2013 08:12PM  
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Born in Walthamstow, North East London, in 1953 I began writing at the age of 13. Desperately wanting a pony of my own, but not being able to afford one, I invented an imaginary pony instead, writing stories about our adventures together at every spare opportunity. In the seventies I turned to science fiction - this was the age of Dr. Who, Star Trek and Star Wars. I still have an unfinished advent ...more
More about Helen Hollick...

Other Books in the Series

The Saxon Series (2 books)
  • I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #2)
I Am the Chosen King (The Saxon Series #2) The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #1) Pendragon's Banner (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #2) Shadow of the King (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #3) Sea Witch (Sea Witch Voyages, #1)

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“One day, lad, your eyes will light upon a woman, and you will never forget that glint in her eye, that toss of her head, or sway of her hips. You will dream of her, whether you are asleep of awake. She will possess your mind, and your body will be on fire for her. Nothing will ever erase the linger of her scent in your nostrils, the touch of her hand on your body, the feel of her flesh beneath your fingers.

When you find a woman to love, Cnut, your life changes forever.”
“Emma felt frightened, apprehensive, yes, but also elated and excited, her feelings all tumbled and mixed together like a stew of varied ingredients tossed into the same pot. She was aware of the blood coursing through her veins, the beat of her heart, the breath in her lungs. Was aware, too, of that clenched knot that hung in the pit of her stomach. This was what it was to be alive, to be at the edge, facing survival eye to eye, knowing, KNOWING, you would win.” 5 likes
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