May Staff Picks

Shepherd Park (Juanita E. Thornton) Library

May Staff Picks

Two English Queens have a pivotal role four centuries apart: Emma of Normandy and Katharine Parr. Here are two novels I enjoyed reading this month. Copies are available to check out and download from the library system.

The Steel Beneath the Silk by Patricia Bracewell
England,1012. The Norman-born Queen Emma has made a place for herself in the court of her husband King Athelred (known as the "Unready" since he wasn't an effective ruler) and provided him with an heir. But their ten year marriage isn't a happy one--Athelred is suspicious of Emma and keeps on her on the sidelines. Meanwhile Athelred also has enemies within the court; some he's ruthlessly punished in the past. The kings of Scandinavia have their sights set on England, particularly Cnut of Denmark. It's up to Emma to keep the peace in her adopted country.  A well written and researched story of an medieval English Queen who deserves to be known! An author's note and maps of 11th century England and London are included.
The complete "Emma of Normandy" trilogy is available for your reading pleasure!

Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir
Lady Katharine Parr would like to stay at her family's home and not marry. Her first then second marriage bring Katharine close to the royal influence of Henry VIII. While at the king's court, she falls in love with Thomas Seymour, one of the late Queen Jane's brothers. Katharine also is in favor of religious reform--something that could be used against her. When Katharine marries the aging Henry VIII, she becomes his sixth wife. Katharine plays her new role well, and her stepchildren love her. But danger and plotting have long been part of Henry VIII's court, and Katharine has a narrow escape of her own. After Henry's death, she's a wealthy royal widow and soon marries Thomas Seymour. But their marriage isn't happy for long. An author's note follows the text and family trees are included. I've enjoyed this well written series about Henry VIII's wives since the beginning and feel like I know each of these royal women better.
This novel is the sixth and final one in the "Six Tudor Queens" series.