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review 2016-08-24 16:13
The Forever Queen - Helen Hollick

Having previously read and thoroughly enjoyed, I Am the Chosen King, I was looking forward to reading more of Hollick's early England. I was not disappointed.

Hollick's Emma is brilliant. She leaps off the pages. I cheered for her. I cried for her. I just about got down on bended knee and offered to be one of her maids or housecarls.

I love when an author creates a character you love to hate. This book featured two. At the novel's opening there was the horrid Lady Godegifa (Known to the world as Lady Godiva). I was just sitting around waiting for Emma to gain her bearing and banish that woman to the Channel. Later in the novel, we are introduced to Aelfgifu who made Godegifa look like a kitten in comparison. What a mother won't do for her sons.

The only problems I had with this book were the parts where Emma would go missing for pages at a time. Hollick's Edward and Alfred did not make for compelling reading. I found myself skipping over those pages just so I could get back to Emma's story. At least Edward's character is consistent from this novel to the next.


"But women, she knew, were often kindred spirits to a kennel full of snarling bitches."


"You know, Erik, I am beginning to see the point of a monk's celibacy. It leads for a quieter life in several directions."

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text 2015-10-31 20:01
Reading progress update: I've read 38%.
The Rider of the White Horse - Rosemary Sutcliff
1066 and All That: A Memorable History of England - W.C. Sellar,R.J. Yeatman

Looking at my bookshelves, it's quite obvious which period of English history has held the most fascination for me. Novels and biographies about the Plantagenets, Tudors, and the Wars of the Roses are everywhere. But apart from a few key battles, Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army, and the Roundheads and Royalists - 'right but repulsive and wrong but wromantic'*, my knowledge of the English Civil War is a bit more sketchy.


So I'm really enjoying learning a bit more the events which took place pretty much on my doorstep. I'm actually sitting with a map next to me so I can follow the journeys taken by Anne and Thomas Fairfax. And because the street names haven't changed in 380 years, I know exactly where the fighting happened. Streets where I used to spend a leisurely Saturday afternoon shopping with my girlfriends, once ran red with blood. 



* If you haven't read 1066 And All That, you should. Extremely funny, but for god's sake don't use it as a source if you're taking an exam in English History. 

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review 2015-10-10 00:00
1066: What Fates Impose
1066: What Fates Impose - G.K. Holloway The book follows the events up to the Battle of Hastings and The Conquest. It’s told from third person narrative with huge cast of characters. Luckily for me I’ve read from the period before but there is list of characters in the beginning of the book. Which for me is useless when reading ebooks but maybe that’s just me. Anyway…

Although I found some trouble connecting with the characters, I did feel sympathy for Harold. I don’t know if William the Conqueror was as evil as portrayed here but I really hoped someone would kill him and the other Normans. Harold is likeable character who is intelligent and honorable while William is sometimes cruel, brutal and then at times like a whiny, spoiled brat. Made you root for Harold even more.

There’s politics, brutal fights and nothing is sugarcoated. I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to live in those times. The book gives good idea of the complicated political climate of the time and how it led to the Battle of Hastings.
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review 2015-03-05 14:47
1066: What Fates Impose - G.K. Holloway
The novel tells of the build up to the battle of Hastings and the rise of Harold to the English throne. A very well written novel based around historic facts and shows the writers imagination to bring the characters to life as well as adding spice and danger to the story . 
As the King of England is on his death bed and no apparent heir this opens a challenge from the feudal lords of the land and the relatives overseas. The amount of research the author has done into the past creates a truly believable account of the power struggle for the throne.  It draws the reader into a time of turmoil and where loyalty is bought by the biggest bidder. 
An historic novel full of battles , treachery and treaties that have to be made in order to survive.  An in-depth story of possibly one of Britains must unstable periods of English history. 
The authors writing and really good explanations of what was going on throughout England and the concessions that were made to maintain the status quo is first rate.  A must read for anyone who loves their historic novels.
Source: beckvalleybooks.blogspot.com
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review 2014-09-05 01:59
Review: 1066 What Fates Impose by GK Holloway
1066: What Fates Impose - G.K. Holloway

This was a solid 4-star novel by indie author Glynn Holloway. I had this book moving up my TBR when I was surprised by a request from the author for a review, and I am happy to offer my honest opinion in return for my copy of his book.


Comprehensive historical research is evident on each page of this work, with the complicated circumstances leading up to William the Bastard's unlikely success described in detail. 1066 is widely known as the year that changed England forever, but few understand the variety of elements that had to come together in order for events to unfold the way that they did. Holloway describes these events: Edward's death, Tostig's exile, William's all-or-nothing attack, and a laundry list of unfortunate timing and circumstances with great skill.


Even those who are familiar with the factors that led to the death of England's last Anglo-Saxon king will appreciate the way this author ties together the historical facts and personalities that made it happen. Now known as William the Conqueror, it is not commonly known just how much of an underdog the Duke of Normandy was when he headed into battle. In Holloway's characterization, he seems to be victorious through the sheer force of his iron will.


The complex family ties and feuds that plagued England, leaving Harold Godwinson vulnerable, are also unwound and explained to the reader. One learns as much as reading nonfiction while also being thoroughly entertained by the author's storytelling.


The only element missing to make this a 5-star read was the character development that would lead to an emotional attachment to Harold and his closest followers. Especially when interacting with one of his wives, I found Harold's dialog somewhat unrealistic. While Duke William frequently came across as an arrogant, petulant child. Secondary characters were not developed to the extent that they were easy to keep track of, rather I would have to remind myself who they were when they entered a scene. Being familiar with the historical figures involved, this wasn't so much a problem, but it kept me from becoming emotionally invested in the story.


Overall, a very satisfying read that is more historical than fiction. The battle of Hastings is described in great detail without becoming overwhelming. Each of the strategies - and just plain luck - that benefited Duke William are cleverly explained, so that the reader feels greater sympathy for King Harold with each strike against him that was completely out of his control.

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