Published in: 2010
Book #: Standalone book
Margaret was an 11th century saxon princess who was forced to flee her home many times, before finally ending up in Scotland, under the watch of King Malcolm. The book chronicles her journey from her beginnings at Scotland, a stranger in a strange land, to her marriage to the barbarian Scottish King Malcolm Canmore, and through her first three pregnancies (she eventually would give birth to 8 healthy children!).
I had honestly never heard of Saint Margaret before this book. I’m not religious, so the saints aren’t all that familiar to me, but after reading this, I must say I am curious. Margaret was quite unbelievable in life. The sheer fact that she manages to give birth to 8 healthy children in the eleventh century is just… it’s quite mind-boggling. I find it curious that the author continues to refer to Margaret’s sensitive stomach and food issues throughout the book- in today’s age, Margaret would be considered anorexic, but in her times, she is just seen as pure and saintly. However, it must have done something right, because she was strong enough to raise such a brood in a very harsh environment.
At the end of the book, the author has included a little bit explaining what became of Margaret and Malcolm, where we learn that Margaret only lived to about age 40, where she died, shortly after Malcolm was killed in battle. They say she died of a broken heart, which is so sweet that I can see why she was romanticised and eventually became a saint.
Queen Hereafter rating: 8/10. Very interesting book. I am curious as to how accurate this book is to Margaret’s life, but the thing about historical novels is sometimes not the accuracy of the details, but the way that they paint a picture of a time in the past, and how it throws you back to that moment, allowing you to almost experience how it may have been back then.
Would I re-read it? Yes I would like to re-read this book. It’s something I could come back to after reading another book about Margaret and then compare the details, or after researching her life a bit more and then seeing how the book describes these things. I realise that a lot of this is the author’s interpretation, but she has interpreted it very well, and it painted quite a vivid picture of what Medieval Scotland may have been like, as well as Margaret’s character.
Who would I recommend it to? History buffs, people curious about saints, curious about medieval times and/or Scotland. This is not something that is purely for say a highly religious person, as religion, although a huge part of Margaret’s life (She was very, very, VERY devout), doesn’t actually detract from the story, nor does it preach. It simply states a fact, that Margaret is incredibly devout to her religion, and the mention of this fact is only used to enhance the story and explain her character more, rather than trying to convert the reader.
Author’s website: http://www.susanfraserking.com/