Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Guest Post from Patricia Bracewell + a Giveaway

Good morning, all! January is just brimming with treats here on the blog and today I've got yet another one for you: a guest post from Patricia Bracewell, author of Shadow on the Crown, plus a chance to win your own copy of the newly released paperback.

Shadow on the Crown is the first in a proposed trilogy about Emma of Normandy, the "twice crowned queen." The daughter of the duke of Normandy, Emma was married off to the Aethelred of England in an attempt to secure protection (for England) against the Vikings in 1002. Surprisingly, though, most of us haven't read anything about Emma... until now.

Patricial Bracewell explains why she chose Emma as the topic for her debut.

Why Emma?

If you were to stand on the street and ask 100 passers-by if they’ve ever heard of Emma of Normandy, I promise you that all but maybe one of them would frown and say, “Who?”

Right. So why, you may ask, did I write a book about a woman that few people have ever heard of? My answer to that: Because I thought it was outrageous that this early queen of England has become little more than a historical footnote. Something had to be done.

To illustrate, let’s look at one of the better known queen consorts of England, Ann Boleyn, and compare her with the not-so-famous Emma of Normandy.

Ann Boleyn married a king of England.
Emma married two kings of England.

Ann was a queen for three years.
Emma was a queen for thirty-two years.

Ann’s daughter was crowned queen, but only after Ann was dead. She had no hand in her daughter’s rise to power.
Emma witnessed the coronation of two sons, and her influence was instrumental in their ascent to the throne.

How is it, then, that one queen consort has become a household name and the other remains almost a complete unknown? Does it have something to do with the impact that Ann Boleyn’s marriage had on the future history of England – Henry’s break from the Catholic Church? Maybe; but Emma’s marriages, too, had a huge impact on English history. There would have been no Norman Conquest in 1066, an event that changed the face of England, were it not for the marriages of Queen Emma.

And lest you think that an 11th century queen was just a cipher, just a woman who sat in an upstairs chamber and did no more than produce babies and beautiful embroideries, let me assure you that Emma would have been responsible for a large royal household and would have managed properties scattered across England. She was a guardian of royal treasure, and quite possibly she was regent in the absence of the king. She could forge alliances with powerful men precisely because she understood the politics and the culture of Anglo-Saxon England and how to use that knowledge to her advantage. She experienced the horrors of war. At one point in Emma’s long career it appears that she held London against an invading army, so she was no fainting maiden. For crying out loud, she married a Viking.

When I considered Emma and the many queens who followed her – all the Anns, Margarets, Marys, and Elizabeths who have been written about again and again, it seemed to me that Emma deserved the same recognition. With that in mind I began writing my novel, Shadow on the Crown. It’s the first book of a trilogy, and covers only a few years in the life of the young queen. The next two books will continue her story, so I still have a great deal of work to do. I hope, though, that someday, upon hearing the name Emma of Normandy, people will nod sagely and say something like this:

“She was an 11th century queen and the only woman in history to wed two kings of England. She played a pivotal role in England’s early history, and she was a powerful woman for her time. Emma of Normandy was a formidable queen. Really, you know, she must have been amazing.”

About the author:

PATRICIA BRACEWELL grew up in California where she taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. She has always been fascinated by English history and holds an MA in English literature. Her historical research has taken her to Britain, France and Denmark. She has two grown sons and lives with her husband in Oakland, California.

Big, big thanks to the folks over at Viking/Penguin for setting this up and to Patricia for being on the blog today!

To enter to win your own copy of Shadow on the Crown, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, January 27. US only please and no PO boxes.


traveler said...

This historical sounds fascinating. thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Adam Geise said...

Looks like an interesting read.

Becky Wilson aka Valkyrie1008 said...

Yeah! You tell and give it to em Patricia! Everyone should ditch Elizabeth I and adopt Emma to their hearts instead. :)

Anemailname said...

I am reluctant to say I've never heard of her, but I am happy to say, I want to know more! Thank you for the giveaway, I've added this to my wish list!

Cyndi Williamson said...

Oooh! This looks great! I started out reading Tudor bios and novels, worked my way back through the War of the Roses, Isabeau of Bavaria, Eleanor of Aquitane, and now I want to learn about this great lady. I love strong women of history, and Emma sounds right up my ally!

AbbyThompson said...

Sounds awesome! I love a good historical!

KAS said...

This is an amazing giveaway! I am so excited to read this!

Terry said...

I already read and loved this book. I got my copy from the library but would love to own a copy for my bookshelf so I can reread it when the mood strikes.

Anonymous said...

I want to say I have read a little or at least know a little about Emma of Normandy when I read Eadric The Grasper by Jayden Woods, but I could be wrong. This definitely intrigues me. I must get this on my TBR list.

Carolyn Valdez