Why Did I Listen To This Audiobook:
As soon as I saw Shadow On The Crown by Patricia Bracewell in a review pitch, I absolutely knew I had to listen to the audiobook. You see, I filled up a ton of my college career with medieval history classes, looking back I am pretty sure I took all of the ones my school offered, AS ELECTIVES. Lawd, I was a nerd. Still am. Anyways, so Shadow On The Crown covers Emma of Normandy’s early years of marriage to Æthelred of England and well, it’s just as interesting as history class, but perhaps more so because Bracewell has creative license and we get to really dive into the various motivations of historical people.
What’s The Story Here:
At the age of 15, Emma is sent from Normandy to England, a place she’s never been to wed old King Æthelred. FYI just typing that made me feel old as I’m 10 years older than Emma. In England, she finds a cool reception from the King who is actually kind of a huge asshole to her. Not only that, but this woman, Elgiva is totally gorgeous and has her sights set on the King and the crown. Of course. So, what’s Emma to do? HAVE A BABY to cement her place. But, more than that, Emma makes the people fall in love with her, because she’s awesome. Anyways, Emma is lonely and out of that loneliness comes an inappropriate relationship. And just, all the sighs. AND YES YOU GUYS, I totally wikipediaed the history, because I need to make sure of some things.
So, Emma, How Is She As Main Character:
Ugh, I just cannot with all of my feelings for Emma. Seriously, SHE IS THE BEST. Like, I knew I liked her when I learned about her in class, but I totally like her way more now that I’ve listened to a book about her. She might not be leading the battle with a sword or anything, but she’s still totally kick ass. Emma is the sort of character who is strong for her time. She’s incredibly courageous. She has a lot of hardship and has been dealt quite a few bad hands. Yet, to me, it’s not what happens to her, but how she reacts. And I have to say, I completely admired her, even when she commits a few indiscretions. In her place, I probably would have done the same.
What About Your Feels For Elgiva:
One of the point of view characters in Bracewell’s Shadow On The Crown is the lady who wants to knock Emma out of the way, Elgiva. Straight up, she is THE WORST. Oh my goodness. She’s scheming and manipulative. She comes across as fake and not nearly as genuine as Emma. I mean, okay, yes she doesn’t really have a whole lot of options, so maybe going after the crown is the best she can do, but ugh. I just did not like her at all.
Is This Is Kissing Book?:
Ya know, for a book that is set in a time when people were gross and dirty, there were actually a few reprieves. Like, thank goodness there was something to swoon over. There’s definitely romance and kissing in Shadow On The Crown. I know I could not help but ship two characters and hope against hope that they would get together. This is where my wikipedia-ing comes into play, because I totally went and looked to see if that happened.
How’s The Narration:
Katie Firth is the narrator of the Shadow On The Crown audiobook. She’s actually a new to me narrator, which I tend to be kind of hesitant about. Anyways, I actually really liked her voice. She does medieval well and manages to sound sort of youthful – exactly how I’d expect 15 year old Emma to sound. Her voice also has a serious sort of tenor to it. And I have to say, I really, really like her narration a lot more than other historical fictions I’ve listened to where the narrators sound like very old ladies. ANYWAYS. This one’s definitely worth listening to on your commutes or during your walks and runs. It is 13 hours and 40 minutes unabridged and produced by Penguin Audio.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
LOL, okay so this GIF is not entirely accurate, but every time an Elgiva part came up, that was totally my face as I was listening. Also? There’s so much drama and this si totally one of those smart popcorn books.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher
Other reviews of Shadow On The Crown by Patricia Bracewell:
A Reader Of Fictions – “beautiful writing and vibrant characters”
Respiring Thoughts – “easy to follow along with and get engaged with”
Giraffe Days – “a finely crafted novel that tells a heartfelt story”