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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!
Margaret of Scotland was such an interesting medieval woman it's nice to finally have a thorough treatment and a historically accurate novel written about her. In Susan Fraser King's new novel, Margaret is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland with her mother and siblings while escaping the Normans in the 11th century. King Malcolm of Scotland sees the advantage and offers...
Published on December 7, 2010 by JB

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking imagination
This was a really beautifully written book unfortunately the author sold this story short in lieu of keeping it from being a larger book. It seemed like there was huge potential exploring the relationship between Margaret and Malcom and perhaps how it evolved but the author didn't do much with it. I found the Author's Notes at the end much more compelling than the book...
Published on May 15, 2011 by Amazon Customer


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!, December 7, 2010
This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
Margaret of Scotland was such an interesting medieval woman it's nice to finally have a thorough treatment and a historically accurate novel written about her. In Susan Fraser King's new novel, Margaret is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland with her mother and siblings while escaping the Normans in the 11th century. King Malcolm of Scotland sees the advantage and offers to marry her in exchange for helping her brother fight for the Saxon cause just over the border in England. Mrgaret has to adjust to the Scottish court, being a foreigner, and does her best to help the Scots as their new queen. Malcolm brings in Eva, a Celtic bard, granddaughter of Lady Macbeth (who King wrote about in her previous and wonderful novel), and Eva is not only a hostage of the king, but sent there to spy for Lady Macbeth. Malcolm and Eva clash - he even takes away her harp as punishment for her boldness - but Margaret unexpectedly forms a growing friendship with the young female bard whose cultural ideas are very different from Margaret's. The story builds from there, covering the first few years of Margaret's reign as queen in Scotland.

King's signature style -- lyrical voice, symapthetic and compelling characters, accurate research and real life details make this a read I couldn't put down. My ony regret is that King ended the story too soon, as I wanted to spend more time with these people in this fabulous setting. I loved Lady Macbeth, what a poetic novel, and Queen Hereafter has a different feel. More gentle and sensitive in ways that suit Margaret so well. It's not as dark and that suits this character, who is such a gentle, vulnerable soul cast into a situation where she must deal with unexpected challenges in life. Margaret wanted to be a nun, but no, her brother married her off to Malccolm to suit his own agenda. Malcolm is not the evil man we might expect, but a blundering oaf that we come to genuinely like. Highly enjoyable read, and highly recommended!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Book!, December 7, 2010
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This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
Queen Hereafter characters are distinctive; the women, strong. The history is well researched, and Susan Fraser King's depictions of 11th century life in Scotland...gripping. That all makes for good solid reading. But that's not what gets me.

What I love, besides King's storytelling and that she clearly writes through the eyes and soul of an artist, is how she can make today's reader feel a kinship with the people of the 11th century, and with a sense of humor. That is, King's Queen Hereafter characters tackle the same compelling human issues and cultural dilemmas we do today--personal loss, overprotective loved ones ("Shall I advise him that his sister coddles him overmuch, and he should grow ballocks?"), class tension and tension between the sexes, fear ("she dropped to her knees and folded her hands, breath whispering over fingertips as she pleaded for an answer"), need to prove hardihood ("Margaret watched Malcolm lift a horn filled with wine, the liquid sloshing down his arm as he drank... many warriors found sport in emptying their drinking horns quickly in long gulps."), even anorexia. I was drawn into the characters' struggles and satisfied by King's skillful portrayals of their particular defenses and efforts to find solutions.

I loved this book! When's the movie?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish Queen and Saint extrordinaire, January 15, 2011
This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
This historical, romantic novel is a page turner and I loved it. It is based on twelfth century history in Scotland and Northumbria of England in a war between Norman William the Conqueror and King Malcolm (Canmore) of Scotland. Princess Margaret of England, along with her father, mother, sister and brother Prince Edgar the Aetheling, had fled to the royal court of Hungary, an extremely pious Catholic nation for sanctuary, but Margaret's father was called back to England and shortly thereafter suffered a mysterious death, for which Margaret, who was 8 at the time, blamed herself the rest of her life because she had coaxed him into eating some sweetmeats, which were poisoned. Because of her guilt, Margaret became very devout, intending to become a nun and after her father's death, her family and her were kept confined in an Abbey. Margaret followed the severe devotional life of the nuns, praying several times day and night, which, Margaret continued the rest of her life. No one could understand her, even the priests, but the novel indicates she was trying to atone for her father's death.

Her family was rescued from this abbey and fled across the channel in a boat, but were shipwrecked on the shores of Scotland. Her teen-age brother, Prince Edgar, sought King Malcolm's help to fight William and regain his Saxon kingdom. Malcolm was a warrior king and understood that Edgar would never be able to do this on his own and hesitated for several years to openly fight William, but kept raiding into Northcumbria, which had once been his.

Margaret, along with being extremely devout, was educated, beautiful, virtuous, and charitable. From the time she first saw Malcolm, she considered him a brute and totally uncouth. Malcolm, a widower, wanted Margaret and agreed to help Edgar if Margaret would become his wife and consort. Margaret was attracted and also disgusted by this man. Although Margaret was a gentle woman, rarely ever saying anything unkind or uncouth, she had a streak in her that would stand up to Malcolm in defense of others. In the beginning, she refused to marry Malcolm, but was finally persuaded that it would help Saxon England if she did. After her wedding night, which she dreaded, she found him to be gentle with her, whether in the bed or otherwise, and a part of her began to fall in love with him also. She soon found that he would accede to whatever her wishes or actions were and she was determined to bring refined culture to Malcolm and his palaces and worked many more hours than her strength allowed to bring charity to the people and gradually change their Celtic religion more under the religious rules of Rome and the Pope, although she could see the beauty of the Celtic religion. She taught and educated Malcolm, improving his Latin, French and English. She thwarted him in every way, but he recognized that she did so on his behalf and not her own and so she feared no consequences. She robbed his gold to help the poor, she released six prisoners whom she felt did not deserve to be held for ransom, she fed the people and personally fed children. Although she actually bore him six sons and two daughters, the book ends after the birth of three sons, which she almost lost because she would not eat sufficiently. No one understood this, but the book hints that she did this in atonement for her sins (her father's death.)

The character of Eva (although fictional) is inserted to elaborate more on the controversy between Lady MacBeth in the north of Scotland and Malcolm in the south, over the kingdom of Scotland.

The author says that there is more historical evidence to support Margaret than is usual from medieval times, and probably it is because she was considered a saint. I feel the book gains even more appeal after reading the Author's Note at the end of the story and I truly urge the reader to not by-pass it.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!, December 17, 2010
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Nadine (Providence, RI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
After reading Lady MacBeth, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Queen Hereafter, even pre-ordered it. Once I started the first page, I couldn't stop and quickly devoured this book in a matter of days! I LOVED IT! I really felt, through Susan's writing, that I was right back there with Queen Margaret. Only thing I didn't like was that when I got to the end of the book I found myself wishing that it kept going on, and on, and on! I'll now be anxiously awaiting news/release of her next book!!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read, January 3, 2011
This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
Queen Hereafter is a well rounded, nicely written sequel to Lady Macbeth with Margaret of Scotland as the main protagonist.

Susan Fraser King is a good storyteller who explores the friendship between two very different women skillfully while showing us the change in the traditions, habits and tastes of a society as it leaves the Dark Ages behind and enters the High Middle Ages without lecturing or boring the audience.

Another thing I like about this novel is that Susan Fraser King does not use the clichés of the "historical romance novel". I can imagine the lure of creating a bodice ripper for a writer when it comes to medieval Scotland, and Susan Fraser King does not fall into this trap. Her romantic relationships and marriages are realistic, not idealized.(Still, she could have developed the possible romance between Edgar and Eva)

In short, Queen Hereafter is an engaging, interesting book that you can curl up with - the perfect pastime for this year's awful winter weather-
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lacking imagination, May 15, 2011
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This was a really beautifully written book unfortunately the author sold this story short in lieu of keeping it from being a larger book. It seemed like there was huge potential exploring the relationship between Margaret and Malcom and perhaps how it evolved but the author didn't do much with it. I found the Author's Notes at the end much more compelling than the book itself. I felt like I never really got into Margaret's head or understood her motivations. Her documented quirky behavior (while historically accurate) seemed to come out of left field - she felt very one-dimensional and I just really kept wanting to be swept away but never was. Based on this I wouldn't purchase anymore books by this author - I would really like to read Lady Macbeth: A Novel and see if it's any better but can't bring myself to purchase it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully told historical novel, January 3, 2012
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This is my second book by Susan Fraser King and I will eagerly seek out more. King has the skill of taking impeccable research and creating a story that makes the characters come alive. I suppose it doesn't hurt that I read this book after returning from Scotland and seeing St. Margaret's Chapel at the Edinburgh Castle - I was able to vividly envision the settings. But that being said, I think I would have lost patience quickly with a book that didn't ring true to the story or characters. Highly recommended if you like historical fiction!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!!, January 21, 2011
This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
I was referred to Lady Macbeth by a friend and loved the book. So of course I was waiting anxiously for the Queen Hereafter to be published. Unfortunately I can't honestly brag that I had pre-ordered the book, however my best friend knew I was eagerly awaiting its release and bought it for me for Christmas. I had it read in less than a week and, like Lady Macbeth, I was very sad when I had to come to the end. The characters and the writing were such that I could have continued reading this book happily for much longer. It has joined my list of favorite books that will be reread countlessly in the years to come and will always be sad when it ends. I loved the characters and respected them all. Being a woman, I find books about women in earlier centuries to be especially fascinating, especially when the author so clearly does her research on the time and place and builds her characters on historical figures. While I know not every detail can be historically accurate, I like learning about these women and learning about how women in general may have actually lived during these times, especially when the women show strength in their roles. Since most of history is written by men and is about men, I often feel like women are left out of the story because we haven't done anything "important," so I love books where the women are still fulfilling the expected roles of the time and still are able to display strength and even defiance. I loved this book so much and can't wait for another book to be written by her that I can devour just as eagerly as I did this one!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another great book by Susan Fraser King!, December 16, 2010
This review is from: Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland (Hardcover)
What struck me the most when I read Susan Fraser King's first novel, Lady MacBeth , was the way she was able to suck me in within the first page. Well, I can happily say that the same thing happened with her newest release, Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland.

Margaret, the daughter of an exiled prince and granddaughter to Edmund Ironside, was raised in the strictly religious Hungarian court. Her father is called back to England, but dies shortly after and following a series of events she and her family leave England and travel to the court of King Malcolm III of Scotland for protection. However safety comes with a price that only she can pay with her hand in marriage. As dutiful as Margaret is, she is less than thrilled at marrying this rough, brutish man who ignores and disgusts her but resolves herself to the inevitable and vows to be the best queen possible. It's hard to think that with the rocky start to their relationship and given that they seem to be total opposites, Margaret and Malcolm have one of the most successful (with all of their eight children living to adulthood)and happy marriages in royal couple history. And though the people of Scotland did not want a Saxon queen, they come to love her for her charity and kindnesses. After reading about the innate goodness in Margaret, it comes as no surprise to me that she is now known as a Saint.

In Queen Hereafter we also reunite with Lady MacBeth and meet her granddaughter, daughter of the murdered King Lulach, Eva. Eva, an accomplished bard, knowing her destiny lay elsewhere, she leaves the court of her grandmother and answers Malcolm's summons that she come to his court as a royal hostage to keep Lady MacBeth in check and behaving. As Malcolm is Lady MacBeth's enemy she is loath to send her beloved granddaughter to the lion's den, but word has come to her that Malcolm has commission a historical account which would not paint MacBeth and Lulach in very glowing terms and Eva could be in a position to secretly find out more about the document. But when Eva and Margaret grow close she begins to feel bad about betraying her new friend and when she gets caught its Margaret who will seal her fate.

Wonderfully written and hard to put down Queen Hereafter is a fantastic read that I highly recommend to any lover of historical fiction!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Decent portrayal of this saint, March 17, 2013
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Nick (Davenport, IA United States) - See all my reviews
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After reading Lady Macbeth, I was hoping for an equally moving piece. Don't get me wrong, this book is a great read but never pulled me in as the previous novel. Perhaps I was too soured because of Malcolm.
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Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland
Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland by Susan King (Hardcover - December 7, 2010)
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