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Queen Hereafter

Queen Hereafter is a historical fiction novel by Susan Fraser King.

Margaret is a young Saxon princess that longs to be a nun. A secret from her father’s death long ago still lies heavy in her heart, and her loyalty and steadfastness to the Church is strong ever since. But when her brother Edgar wages a rebellion against the king of England, a war for the crown he believes is rightfully his, Margaret, her mother, and her sister get caught up in it.

The warrior-king of Scotland, Malcolm Canmore, has agreed to aid Edgar in his fight in exchange for Margaret’s hand in marriage.

Distraught at losing her primary focus on the Church, Margaret decides to throw herself into being the perfect wife and queen of Scotland. But it is a strange land filled with unfamiliar customs and wildness she is not accustomed to.

When a talented Celtic bard named Eva, around Margaret’s age, is brought to court, she finds an unlikely friend – yet Eva has ties to Lady Macbeth, whom is none too friendly with Malcolm. Can Eva be trusted?

This is the story of Margaret of Scotland.

I love good historical fiction, and do broach out of YA to enjoy it at times, as regular readers of the Bibliophile Support Group know. This particular title takes place in medieval times, which in the beginning imposed what seemed to be difficult names for my mind to process and remember – yet King’s simplistic prose quickly made it easy.

From the get-go Margaret’s individuality and humility is clear, as well as her strong, decisive mind. The writing conveys a vivid 11th century environment and it’s not hard to get caught up in the story. After all, there’s all sorts of drama, royal intrigue, and political interests literally at war here – plus tons of historical details and facts.

All of the characters feel real, enigmatic, and magnetic. I was surprised to find that Margaret and Malcolm had a unexpectedly intense, deep, attractive connection – their chemistry sizzled. Though Margaret’s piousness was always present, it didn’t change that romantic sensation.

Queen Hereafter is a novel to embrace and enjoy with a royal family that seems to legitimately care about each other (refreshing, as that seems to be rare) and a beloved, extremely generous queen with a huge heart. She is fascinating to read about in this fictional, narrative setting.

My only complaint was that I didn’t see the necessity of the fictional character of Eva. Knowing she wasn’t a real person kind of tainted a lot of the scenes for me. I know that historical fiction does this often, but I guess this time around I didn’t feel she was needed all that much to add or help with the story. However, this complaint is a faint one. I still very much reveled in the medieval court life and details of a revered piece of Scotland history.

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