This book did for me what I feel historical fiction should do. It introduced me to a slew of historical personages that I previously knew nothing abouThis book did for me what I feel historical fiction should do. It introduced me to a slew of historical personages that I previously knew nothing about and it instilled in me a desire to learn more about them - about their lives, who they were, what they did. I want to know more about the saintly Queen Margaret, who seemed to be so good a person that it is almost an impossibility. I want to know more about the beauty and the beast love story that was Margaret's and Duncan's. I want to know more about Queen Grudah, wife of MacBeth and about life in Scotland in medieval times, much different than the royal courts of England and France that I am more familiar with.
Queen Hereafter was well-written in many aspects but there was something about it that just didn't hold my interest as much as I would have liked. It didn't have me up reading late into the night. It didn't captivate me like I wanted it to.
Eva, a female bard, was a character added into the novel that didn't actually exist. I understand, from the author's note at the end, that Eva was written in to give another view of the times. Susan Fraser King had stated that while Queen Margaret had a fascinating life, it would be tiresome to read solely about a woman who was so pious, continually praying and giving birth to children. I'm not sure I agree. While I did find it interesting to see Eva's point of view, I don't see how an interesting novel would be impossible to write solely about Margaret given that she is the most well-documented medieval queen in history. Her friend and confessor, Brother Tor, keep a detailed account of her life, something that survived all this time. It's very rare to have such accounts still in existence, if ever written in the first place.
I would recommend this book as an introduction but will be searching for another account of Margaret and Duncan's lives. I will probably also read Lady MacBeth by the same author but expect it to be much the same. A good book about Grudah and MacBeth but with a little something missing.
Interesting story from the Author's Note: Margaret's coffin was removed during renovations from its original tomb in the church at Dunfermline to be placed in the new apse. The workers carrying the coffin found it so heavy that they set it down and could not budge it again - then they realized that next to them was the tomb of Malcolm Canmore. Only when Malcolm's coffin was moved to the new apse first could the queen's coffin then be easily lifted and installed in its new position. Legend says that the queen's spirit, out of love and respect for her husband, prevented her coffin from preceding his into the new apse. Tiny, beautiful lights, it is claimed, sometimes float around her tomb in Dunfermline, proving that she still watches over Scotland. To this day, her presence is recalled in various places - her simple, serene chapel in Edinburgh Castle; St. Margaret's Loch and St. Margaret's Well, the water crossing she founded at Queensferry in Fife, the boulder where she sat to rest near Malcolm's tower in Dunfermline and the little cave tucked under a hill there; and the cove where it is said she first set foot in Scotland, which is called St. Margaret's Hope.
The love story between Margaret and Duncan, unlikely in many aspects, fascinates me and I would like to at some point visit the places listed above. ...more
**spoiler alert** Juliet kept me interested with a great concept, a fun storyline and a connection to one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.
I really e**spoiler alert** Juliet kept me interested with a great concept, a fun storyline and a connection to one of my favorite Shakespeare plays.
I really enjoyed the way that this novel went back and forth between the 'original' story of Romeo Marescotti and Giullieta Tolemi, set in Sienna in 1340 and the modern-day story of Julie Jacobs/Giullieta Tolemi, also set in Sienna. The 1340 story was great and I really didn't have any problem with that portion of the book at all.
The modern story was pretty good, too, but rougher in places like cheesy dialogue and lack of character development. I wanted to know more about Julie's twin sister, Janice. I wanted to be more connected to the characters. And I didn't want a cheesy harlequin ending. I saw it coming but still... the last chapter seemed a little unnecessary and predictable to me.
All in all, I would recommend this book because what I liked, I really liked a lot. It's just too bad because, while a good book, it had the potential to be an amazing book. ...more
I liked this book. It's one I've always wanted to read and finally got around to as part of my Banned Book Challenge. It wasn't a page turner and therI liked this book. It's one I've always wanted to read and finally got around to as part of my Banned Book Challenge. It wasn't a page turner and there were parts that I really had to push myself through but I found that the second half of the book picked up and became easier to read.
I found that I was able to really relate to Connie (Lady Chatterley) as I, too, have been in an emotionally unsatisfying marriage and asked myself if there wasn't more to life. So many passages really struck home for me and I found myself not only rooting for Connie to find happiness but learning about myself in the process.
The book wasn't as shocking or racy as I expected it to be given all I've heard about it but then I can see how it would have been scandalous in 1928, when it was first released.