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The Forever Queen

(Saxon #2)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  3,602 ratings  ·  398 reviews

What kind of woman becomes the wife of two kings, and the mother of two more?

Saxon England, 1002. Not only is Æthelred a failure as King, but his young bride, Emma of Normandy, soon discovers he is even worse as a husband. When the Danish Vikings, led by Swein Forkbeard and his son, Cnut, cause a maelstrom of chaos, Emma, as Queen, must take control if the Kingdom-and

Paperback, 635 pages
Published December 10th 2010 by Sourcebooks Landmark (first published August 5th 2004)
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Jodi I would read Forever Queen first before reading I am the chosen king as the events in Forever Queen happen before the events in I am the chosen king.…moreI would read Forever Queen first before reading I am the chosen king as the events in Forever Queen happen before the events in I am the chosen king. (less)

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Average rating 3.69  · 
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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
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
"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
Dec 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
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 ...more
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 ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Nov 13, 2010 rated it really liked it

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
Annika Hipple
Nov 15, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Krista Baetiong Tungol
This is my very first read about the Anglo-Saxons, having relished dozens of stories from the era of King Henry II and his Plantagenet brood for months. I admit I wasn’t ready to leave 12th century yet, but then I got intrigued with this book that has been in my e-shelf for some time now. The Forever Queen is the story of Emma, a Norman noblewoman, who became queen to two kings and mother to two more, and who lived in a place where peace was untenable and almost unheard of. The narrative covers ...more
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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 ...more
Nov 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Having previously read and thoroughly enjoyed, I Am the Chosen King, I was looking forward to reading more of Hollick's early England. I was not disappointed.

Hollick's Emma is brilliant. She leaps off the pages. I cheered for her. I cried for her. I just about got down on bended knee and offered to be one of her maids or housecarls.

I love when an author creates a character you love to hate. This book featured two. At the novel's opening there was the horrid Lady Godegifa (Known to the world as
Sep 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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!!!
I was done with this book long before the book was done. I persevered though it felt like it was taking forever. I may be gun shy about titles containing the word "forever" from now on.

To be fair, I did enjoy the story and Helen Hollick's imaginings of what Emma of Normandy was like. There is little historical information on her life, and so conjecture is necessary.
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my first forays into Anglo-Saxon England. I found it fascinating and wonder if Emma truly did love Cnut.
Amy Bruno
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
Nov 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 17, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
Heather C
Oct 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jeanne Dunn
Apr 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Rio (Lynne)
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
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.
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Just wonderful.I hated for it to end.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
OK, 3.5. This book started off really well. But as I got closer to finishing I got a bit bored with it. That said, it is an interesting historical fiction novel with a number of real people in it.
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebook
This book literally took me almost 4.5 years to get through.
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book but felt that the characters could have been a little more complex.
Brittney Tyler
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
On a recent trip to the local library, I picked up a stack of books that I have been interested but have been unable to buy. The one I decided to start with was The Forever Queen by Helen Hollick, mostly because I was in the mood for an intensive historical fiction tome. This epic-scope novel covers the reign of Emma, a Queen of Saxon England, in the years leading up to the 1066 Norman Conquest by William of Normandy. Emma is brought to England from Normandy at the age of 13 to marry a man old ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
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 ...more
Jun 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book-nook
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 ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 17, 2015 11:42AM  
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I escaped London in January 2013 to live in North Devon - but was 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 ...more

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Saxon (2 books)
  • I Am the Chosen King (Saxon #1)
“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.”
“Those you love leave behind their shadows to walk, always, with you in the form of memories.” 8 likes
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