I am pleased to welcome Patricia Bracewell today as she tours the internet in support of her book, The Steel Beneath the Silk. I thank Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for sending me a copy at no charge for my honest review.
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About The Steel Beneath the Silk:
A breathtaking conclusion to Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy Trilogy, brimming with treachery, heartache, tenderness and passion as the English queen confronts ambitious and traitorous councilors, invading armies and the Danish king’s power-hungry concubine.
In the year 1012, England’s Norman-born Queen Emma has been ten years wed to an aging, ruthless, haunted King Æthelred. The marriage is a bitterly unhappy one, between a queen who seeks to create her own sphere of influence within the court and a suspicious king who eyes her efforts with hostility and resentment. But royal discord shifts to grudging alliance when Cnut of Denmark, with the secret collusion of his English concubine, Elgiva, invades England at the head of a massive Viking army. Amid the chaos of war, Emma must outwit a fierce enemy whose goal is conquest, and outmaneuver the cunning Elgiva, who threatens all those whom Emma loves.
About the Author:
Patricia Bracewell taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. A lifelong fascination with British history and a chance, on-line reference to an unfamiliar English queen led to years of research, a summer history course at Downing College, Cambridge, and the penning of SHADOW ON THE CROWN and THE PRICE OF BLOOD, the first two books in her trilogy about the 11th century queen of England, Emma of Normandy. As writer-in-residence at Gladstone’s Library in Wales, Patricia conducted research for the final book of her trilogy, THE STEEL BENEATH THE SILK, to be published in March, 2021. She lives with her husband in Northern California.
“The Steel Beneath the Silk is a power anthem tribute to history’s women-behind-the-scenes. Intelligent, observant Queen Emma might have very little authority as the ignored wife of England’s failing king, but she takes her role as peace-weaver seriously as Danish warlords threaten everything she has helped build. Without her hand on the tiller guiding the machinations of rebellious princes, ambitious concubines, and Viking suitors, it might have been a very different Britain–and a very different world. Patricia Bracewell’s impeccable research and steely heroine make this a perfect read for fans of Bernard Cornwell’s Last Kingdom series!” – Kate Quinn, author of The Rose Code, The Huntress, The Alice Network, The Empress of Rome Saga and The Borgia Chronicles
“A magnificent book! This masterful culmination of Patricia Bracewell’s epic Emma of Normandy trilogy could rival any Norse saga immortalizing the drama-laden events at the time of the Viking invasions of Anglo-Saxon England. I loved it!” – Anne Easter Smith, author of A Rose for the Crown and This Son of York
“The Steel Beneath the Silk is a triumph. As her husband King Æthelred and his sons confront the invading Danes on the battlefield, we watch Queen Emma wield power behind the scenes, forging alliances with cunning and diplomacy. Romantic, thrilling, richly embroidered with historical detail, this epic saga will satisfy fans of The Last Kingdom, Vikings, and Outlander. Highly recommended!” – Candace Robb, bestselling author of the Owen Archer mysteries
“The hard-hitting history of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle comes to life in this sweeping, cinematic saga of Emma of Normandy. In a violent, turbulent world full of treachery and the threat of Viking invasion, one strong woman rises to seize her power with a warrior’s valor and a peace-weaver’s foresight. In Patricia Bracewell’s stunning new novel, Queen Emma makes an unforgettable impression.” – Mary Sharratt, author of Revelations and Illuminations
“Plotting, deceit and familial divisions keep the reader guessing what fate has in store for eleventh century Queen Emma and her sons. The Steel Beneath the Silk is a gripping and fabulous, vividly written story. The detailed scents, sounds and visual period detail pull the reader right into an English eleventh century court threatened with intrigue. This excellently recreated world provides an authentic background to a thrilling story. What a wonderful and dangerous life Queen Emma lived. England, 1013–Strife, Danish conquest, a handsome, clever Viking prince, betrayal; what a thrilling tale this is, one inhabited by vivid, unforgettable characters.” – Carol McGrath, author of The Handfasted Wife
“A queen’s courage in the face of war, lost love, and betrayal takes center stage in this novel about Emma of Normandy, a woman whose critical role in English history is not as well known as it should be. I felt like I was plunged into the 11th century, thanks to the action-fueled pacing and sharply conveyed atmosphere. Anyone who enjoys Vikings and The Last Kingdom and is eager to read about the lives of women in such a tumultuous era should seize this book and prepare for an unforgettable saga.” – Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Blue and the Joanna Stafford trilogy
“In this glorious conclusion to Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy trilogy, Emma becomes an even greater, wiser, savvier queen than ever she was in the two previous novels…. A perfect conclusion to a brilliant trilogy-a great read!” – Historical Novel Review
This is not my first time reading the tale of the formidable Queen Emma of Normandy and given the story she has left to history I somehow suspect it might not be the last. I did not read the first two books in this series but I discovered that I do have the first one on my bookshelf. I have read about this fascinating woman in other books and was thrilled to again visit with her.
England in the 10th and 11th centuries is dealing with raids from the Danes who want to lay claim to England. It’s a time of almost constant war. King Æthelred, married to Emma of Normandy to strengthen his alliance with William of Normandy is hoping for help from that quarter but William has his own designs on England. He sees Emma as a way in – little does he know that his sister is not a wilting flower.
As Emma navigates court, her aging husband, almost constant war, a brother who is reluctant to send aid, along with an overwhelming fear for her children she finds a strength she didn’t know she had. She is the Queen of England and her people need her.
The Steel Beneath the Silk is a well researched, well written novel that brings Emma’s world to vivid life. It’s the last book in the series but one wishes there were more as Emma’s story does not end with Æthelred’s death. In some ways it only just begins. It’s a real page turner of a novel about a woman who refused to be lost to history and who left her mark in a time when women were considered chattel and only good for the sons they could give to their husbands.
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of The Steel Beneath the Silk!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.