Refugee. Queen. Saint. In 11th-century Scotland, a young woman strives to fulfill her destiny despite the risks....
Shipwrecked on the Scottish coast, a young Saxon princess and her family - including the outlawed Edgar of England - ask sanctuary of the warrior-king Malcolm Canmore, who shrewdly sees the political advantage. He promises to aid Edgar and the Saxon cause in return for the hand of Edgar's sister, Margaret, in marriage.
A foreign queen in a strange land, Margaret adapts to life among the barbarian Scots, bears princes, and shapes the fierce warrior Malcolm into a sophisticated ruler. Yet even as the king and queen build a passionate and tempestuous partnership, the Scots distrust her. When her husband brings Eva, a Celtic bard, to court as a hostage for the good behavior of the formidable Lady Macbeth, Margaret expects trouble. Instead, an unlikely friendship grows between the queen and her bard, though one has a wild Celtic nature and the other follows the demanding path of obligation.
Torn between old and new loyalties, Eva is bound by a vow to betray the king and his Saxon queen. Soon imprisoned and charged with witchcraft and treason, Eva learns that Queen Margaret - counseled by the furious king and his powerful priests - will decide her fate and that of her kinswoman Lady Macbeth. But can the proud queen forgive such deep treachery?
Impeccably researched, a dramatic pause-resister, Queen Hereafter is an unforgettable story of shifting alliances and the tension between fear and trust as a young woman finds her way in a dangerous world.
©2010 Susan Fraser King (P)2011 Audible, Inc
"Although you might think that Saxon-era England has been done to death, King's move north pleasantly reinvigorates a period rife with political, religious, and social tensions and turmoil." (Booklist)
I enjoy historical fiction and looked forward to listening to this audiobook. I was disappointed by the painful narration. The accents are truly awful in places. I powered through the book because the storyline was intriguing but it became more of a chore due to the irritating voices and accents.
If you have ever been to Scotland or know someone who has this will be an excruciatingly difficult listen. Living in West Aberdeenshire on the border with Moray (pronounced Murry) it was painful to hear the reader saying "More - Ray" throughout.
Fortunately the story of St.Margaret, queen of Scotland was very interesting and while I'm sure would not be historically accurate, it certainly gave an insight as to why Queen Margaret was canonised. I hope that the author/ producer / publisher or whoever find a Scot to rerecord the great book to bring the book alive and enrich the listeners experience.
"Tested my patience."
I usually love historical novels but I'm afraid I had to force myself to slog through this one. There were characters who could have been amazingly interesting but unfortunately, the narration made the story as dull as dishwater. The way that the narrator spoke as Margaret made one think her character was more like a robot than a real person - where did she get that accent???
"story is good, but the narration unbearable"
Just finished the seven hours of part 1 and can't go on listening. I will usually slog through narration issues because I hate wasting my credits. But in this case, I just can't. The narrator--although a decent reader--makes the voices of all the male characters sound like robots or zombies. It's so bad that I can't muster any sense of the male characters as real or interesting. It's a pity though; the story is quite good--guess I'll finish it on my kindle.
"Poorly performed, historical accuracy questionable"
Margaret's accent comes of as more Japanese than Nordic.
Worth the time in that it led me to other historical characters and places for research.
"Should have been half the length (or less!)"
Inconsistent; halting; odd
Leisurely paced, character-driven novels can be as riveting as action-packed mysteries. However, this book fails to achieve that and instead is so slow and empty that it tested my patience. At more than 12 hours, it is twice as long as it could have (should have?) been to tell the sparse tale of a period in the life of Scotland's Saxon queen, Margaret. The lengthy descriptions of Margaret's gowns, her pious devotions, her generosity, etc., become repetitive and boring.
In addition, like most overly pious individuals, she is tedious and tiresome. For most of the book, she does almost nothing except pray, fast, plead with her husband king to be more charitable, redecorate the castles, and mope around in a guilt-ridden stupor. This is NOT the description of a powerful or vibrant queen. Perhaps that's really how she was, but it doesn't make for good reading.
The other characters were more alive, though they too did little throughout the book and I was left with a "who cares" feeling toward them all.
Finally, the narrator really did a poor job on Margaret. Her voice was weirdly halting and robotic ("I ... am ... a ... queen"). It was an annoying distraction. She did far better on the other characters.
I have read a number of historical novels set in this same era and this doesn't live up to its promise.
"Saint and Heroine?"
I loved the fact that even though Margaret at times was a little too saintly, Ms. Fraser was able to show the humanity in her. When she starved her self, I thought her a little anorexic, but when she let the hostages go, I was laughing and saying,"You go, Girl!"
Any good Jean Plaidy novel since the subject matter is similar. Historical royal fiction is a great genre that the best give you some insight on why the Royals acted like they did.
I think she did wonderful with Princess Eva, not as great with Margaret. However she did a nice job making sure every character had a different voice.
Naughty or nice?
This is a good book, I didn't give it 5 stars because at times the subject matter was a little too dry for my taste. I did enjoy the book.
I found the performance to be very stilted. The story is also very slow-moving. I keep checking the time remaining, hoping it'll be over soon.
"Short on Historical Perspective"
Although there was some "background" on the story and some attempt at depicting life in the 11th century the story was predictable and bland. The story was weak and wasn't a "page turner" by any means. The book ended without any real closure on WHY she was written about. I suppose the emphasis on her "good deeds" was supposed to clue me in, but there wasn't anything to say what happened to the minor characters either. Rather bland overall. The narrator was OK in the descriptive portions of the book, but when it came to the characters I was jolted by the change in tone and the stilted reading, especially when the "Queen" was speaking it sounded like a message from a very bad robo call. I have to say had this not been a "bogo" I'd have returned it.
I have always enjoyed reading historical, fiction, bios about royals and their intertwined families and relationships with other royals. Love making the connection as facts are uncovered. Margaret was quite sharp for a queen who married out of her homeland. Can't wait to read/listen to more about Scottish royalty.
"Filling In The Gaps!"
The narration was well done. the story was captivating. The tale is told in retroactively and it is important to go back after you have read the book and reread the first chapter again. it will draw it all together.
Although I did finish listening to this selection, it did not "wow" me in anyway. The characters were predictable. The sister whined, the mother demanded, the husband/king went off to wage battles, the queen prayed... Several characters came in and then were dropped (like the brother/king-to-be) and then came back. There was no rhythm to the events at all. The narration was barely tolerable. I have listened to worse, but sometimes the voices sounded oriental rather than Scottish or British.
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