To Be A Queen Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B0193QHAHW
- Publication date : December 7, 2015
- Language : English
- File size : 4171 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 312 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #599,336 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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In “To Be a Queen,” the historical account of Aethelflaed or the “Lady of the Mercians,” author Annie Whitehead gets the balance of research and story exactly right. And what a story she tells!
Aethelflaed (ca. 870 to 918A.D.) was the daughter of Alfred the Great, King of the English based in Wessex. The most significant fact of this entire period was the repeated invasions by and battles with the Vikings. The Viking threat framed Aethelflaed’s life, as it did the lives of her father, her brother Edward, her husband Aethelred, and the entire people of the British Isles.
Aethelred, lord of the Mercians, becomes allied with Alfred to fight the Vikings. They’re successful, and to cement the alliance between Wessex and Mercia, Alfred gives his daughter Aethelflaed in marriage to Aethelred. Whitehead creates a love interest for Aethelflaed, one closer to her age, but the young girl knows what her royal duty is. Her considerably older husband is aware of her love for another man, but wisely bides his time.
In the story, Aethelflaed eventually comes to love her husband deeply and earns the respect of the Mercian people, to the degree that they accept her as their ruler when Aethelred is struck down by illness and later dies. She holds the distinction of being the only woman ever to ruled an Anglo-Saxon kingdom.
The heart of the story is in its details – the accounts of day-to-day activities (royal women worked, often just like non-royal women), the love stories Whitehead builds, Aethelflaed’s many miscarriages, and the personalities of the characters themselves, including the heroines, heroes, and villains. What makes this historical novel even more interesting is that what is known of the Mercians is what was written down by their enemies and allies; no first-hand, Mercian accounts of their rulers and history exist.
Whitehead, a member of the Royal Historical Society and the Historical Writers Association. She has published three novels set in Mercia: “To Be a Queen” (2013); “Alvar the Kingmaker” (2016); and “Cometh the Hour” (2017). She has also published the non-fiction work “Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom” (2018). Her books have won a number of prizes and recognitions, and she is a frequent contributor to anthologies on English history and a lecturer. She blogs at Casting Light upon the Shadow and Time Traveler.
“To Be a Queen” is a rousing story, well researched and expertly told, of a woman who served and ruled in a perilous time.
I wanted to like this book. I wanted to know more about the time of Alfred the Great and about the history of women of the time as exemplified in the life of his daughter. I'm almost afraid to say it, given the kudos to the author as identified in her bio; however, the book was disappointing. First, it was very slow getting into it. Second, while the author's switching the point of view from one character to another could enhance the understanding of those characters, the switching was done abruptly so the result was a disjointed flow. My most compelling problem with the novel, however, is that I did not like the main character, Teasel. First, she was raised as the daughter of a king - as she tells us many times. Presumably, therefore, she understood that her duty was to marry for purposes that were important to her father, King Alfred, and to do so with dignity and good graces. (In fact, royal ladies throughout history were almost never able to choose their own husbands probably well into the 19th century.) Nevertheless, when given in marriage to a man other than the one she fancied, she became sulky and petulant and cold. Secondly, although she complains frequently about her mother's annoying whining, she herself is a whiner. I could not like her or care about what happened to her.
I am a voracious reader of historical fiction: THE FOREVER QUEEN about Emma of Normandy, KATHERINE about John of Gaunt's mistress/wife, among many others. Loved them. I did not finish TO BE A QUEEN. Maybe I did not give it a proper chance. However, I am old. Having had to read many unpalatable writings over the course of my career, I no longer feel compelled to finish a book I do not like. I cannot recommend this book.
Ms, Whitehead writes fluidly and she lets her precisely drawn, strong characters generate the fascinating narrative. Aethelflaed was the daughter of Alfred the Great, the first King of the English, a king of kings, so to speak. Like her more famous father, Aethelflaed was a confident, competent and courageous leader at the time when Danish and Norwegian armies, the Vikings, were terrorizing and pillaging their way through the Anglo Saxon island. So, this pious, studious young woman became by necessity, a warrior queen - the real thing. I recommend this book to anyone who likes historical novels set in the Middle Ages, and who wants to be immersed in the that period, Annie Whitehead can take you into a world of Vikings, wild Welsh fighters, the clanging and cries of a battle, and a time of one of the greatest kings of England and a most remarkable warrior queen.
Top reviews from other countries
We have all (if you are interested in England’s history) heard of Alfred the Great – but what of his children, particularly, his daughter who became The Lady of Mercia? Set between AD 874 and AD 918, the research about the period, and of Æthelflæd's life, is impeccable, all the characters are believable and the writing, beautiful. Ms Whitehead handles the politics, the personal feelings, the warfare, all with equal skill.
It is, I admit, difficult to get the mind (and tongue) around some of the unfamiliar Anglo-Saxon names, but I handled it by mentally giving the characters nicknames (helped by the fact that Æthelflæd herself was known as Teasel.) The narrative, however, is so evocative you can easily skim over the little stumbles of pronunciation.
What is so enthralling about this novel is the dexterity of the author's ability to blend the facts (the few known) with the imagined or plain ‘made-up’. This is how historical fiction should be written, how history should be told – as well-crafted, superb storytelling. Brava Ms Whitehead! A Diamond read indeed.
Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds
Being a fan of "The Last Kingdom" series, books and drama, I've come to learn at a certain point about the Lady Aethelflaed, daughter of King Alfred of Wessex, and so to find that my interest got stirred in this great lady and so to buy this book.
The historical details concerning this story have been very thoroughly researched by the author, with the known documentations about this period of history available, and they are superbly implemented within this wonderful tale about the life, from childhood to Queen, of (Little) Teasel or Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia.
At the beginning of the book you'll find a list of real historical characters who're featuring in this story, and you'll notice a superb glossary, not to forget a short informative intro, while at the back of the book you'll find a well documented Author's Notes, wherein Names are explained as well as important events and issues are brought forward by the author for the reader's attention.
Storytelling is of a wonderful quality for the author certainly has the ability in bringing Saxon Britain and all its Kings, Queens, and all other important people vividly to life within this beautiful story, with the main part reserved of course for Lady Aethelflaed, according to the Irish and a lot of other people is Queen of Mercia, and also for a great part her brother King Edward, for bringing together Wessex and Mercia and striving to defeat all Vikings from Britain and to form one united England in the end, as their ultimate goal.
The book is divided into 4 parts and it is set between the years AD 874 until AD 918, and it tells us the story of (Teasel) Aethelflaed from young girl to Lady, and all that she manages to achieve in her life, and finally becoming out of love according to her people in Mercia their Lady and Queen.
This story takes us on a historical journey concerning the life and achievements of this wonderful and daring Lady of the Mercians, Aethelflaed, and this eventful journey is brought to us by the author in a most enjoyable, warm and lovely fashion.
Very much recommended, for this book is a beautiful written description about a most remarkable woman in history, and that's why I would like to call this book: "Honour The Queen, This Lady Of Mercia"!