Fifteen year old Emma, sister of Richard, the Duke of Normandy, spends her days with her sickly sister and rides her horse when she can, until her mother summons her and delivers the news that Emma has been virtually sold to the English to keep the peace. Emma has been promised to King Aethelred, an older man and father of grown sons, who seeks a deal with Duke Richard to protect his coastline and his people from the rampaging Danes.
Emma's mother counsels her daughter that she can never show her fear and that her job is to lure the King into fathering a baby with her to give her leverage and power. But King Aethelred is a man living with a ghost ... the ghost of his brother, Edward, who should have been king. Edward was brutally murdered by trusted men leaving Aethelred to put on the crown and take on the job of ruling his vulnerable countrymen.
Emma's beauty does her proud. Her ability to speak English gives her an upperhand in a society where intrigue prevails and information is critical. Spies lurk everywhere. Women who would turn her husband's head are at every turn. There seems little love lost between Emma and her husband.
Is she a prisoner or is she a queen? Will she give her heart to her husband or is there another whose glance can shake her guard and her poise and perhaps awaken her passions?
This is a fascinating adventure for a woman who truly lived and who gained power, position and love against all odds. The plot unfolds across the geography of this primitive world and the place of women is starkly defined. This is a love story. This is also the story of the harshness of life of even well-born women in these dark ages.
The first of a trilogy.
Ages 15 and up (sexual content/violence and mature issues) 413 pages 978-0670026395
Recommended by: Barb