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Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland [Paperback]

Susan Fraser King
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

15 Jan 2012 Margaret of Scotland
Refugee. Queen. Saint. In eleventh-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 page-turner, 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (A Division of Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc); Reprint edition (15 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307452808
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307452801
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 13 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 706,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars another great book by Susan Fraser King! 16 Dec 2010
What struck me the most when I read Susan Fraser King's first novel, Lady MacBeth , was the way she was able to suck me in within the first page. Well, I can happily say that the same thing happened with her newest release, Queen Hereafter: A Novel of Margaret of Scotland.

Margaret, the daughter of an exiled prince and granddaughter to Edmund Ironside, was raised in the strictly religious Hungarian court. Her father is called back to England, but dies shortly after and following a series of events she and her family leave England and travel to the court of King Malcolm III of Scotland for protection. However safety comes with a price that only she can pay with her hand in marriage. As dutiful as Margaret is, she is less than thrilled at marrying this rough, brutish man who ignores and disgusts her but resolves herself to the inevitable and vows to be the best queen possible. It's hard to think that with the rocky start to their relationship and given that they seem to be total opposites, Margaret and Malcolm have one of the most successful (with all of their eight children living to adulthood)and happy marriages in royal couple history. And though the people of Scotland did not want a Saxon queen, they come to love her for her charity and kindnesses. After reading about the innate goodness in Margaret, it comes as no surprise to me that she is now known as a Saint.

In Queen Hereafter we also reunite with Lady MacBeth and meet her granddaughter, daughter of the murdered King Lulach, Eva. Eva, an accomplished bard, knowing her destiny lay elsewhere, she leaves the court of her grandmother and answers Malcolm's summons that she come to his court as a royal hostage to keep Lady MacBeth in check and behaving.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Queen Hereafter A Novel of Margaret of Scotland 22 Aug 2012
Queen Hereafter (A Novel of Margaret of Scotland) is Susan Fraser King's second historical fiction novel, following on the heels of her Lady MacBeth in 2008. Although there are some references to events that occurred in Lady MacBeth, Queen Hereafter is a stand-alone work of historical fiction.

Queen Hereafter commences in 1046 and covers from that date to approximately 1074. There are two point-of-views used interchangeably in the novel: Margaret of Scotland and Eva the Bard.

Exiled as a small child to Hungary, Margaret's father, is summoned to England by his uncle King Edward. Margaret's family, including her father, mother, sister and brother, travel to London only to encounter tragedy and danger when her father, Edward the Exile, suddenly drops dead within a week. Margaret's brother, Edgar, at 5 years-old, is named as king's heir. When King Edward dies, Edgar does not gain the crown. Harold Godwinson seizes the throne, but dies on the battleground against William the Conqueror.

Margaret's family separates and flee, Margaret and her sister, Cristina, to the Romsey Abby, their mother to Wilton Abbey and Edgar as William's hostage in Normandy. It is a life that Margaret seeks, one of devotion and service to God. Her desire is thwarted 3 years later when she and her sister are spirited off to be reunited with their family and sail to Scotland to request aid of the Scottish King, Malcolm Canmore. Their ship founders in the sea upon the Coast of Scotland where the people are loyal to Malcolm. Further north, the Highlanders demonstrate no such loyalty.

King Malcolm is a widower.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous 30 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Another wonderful book by this author. Opened new door into S to tosh history. The characters leapt off the page and into my mind's eye and I was hooked. Looking forward to more from this aithor
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4.0 out of 5 stars 11th Century Scottish tale 28 Feb 2012
By DizzyC
Scotland, 1067, Margaret , her mother and sister are taken ,by ship, to Scotland on the orders of her brother Edgar. This Saxon family are in need of shelter and protection after the death of their father, King Edward.

They are given sanctuary by King Malcolm, III, a fierce man who seeks a wife. This is not a match that Margaret desires, but fears this will be her destiny as a dutiful sister to Edgar.

Margaret finds herself falling for Malcolm and Scotland after the initial realisation that these people live and behave differently .

I was really looking forward to reading this tale about Margaret of Scotland, even though this is a period I know little about. I struggled a little with the connections of all the characters, and could not have done without the Genealogy map at the start of the novel.
Susan Fraser King has written a beautiful novel, fitting to the time period, that captures the wild landscape of The Highlands, in a turbulent time religiously and socially for the Scots, Normans and Saxons .

A lovely read once I found my way around the 11th Century and genealogy.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  41 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read! 7 Dec 2010
By JB - Published on Amazon.com
Margaret of Scotland was such an interesting medieval woman it's nice to finally have a thorough treatment and a historically accurate novel written about her. In Susan Fraser King's new novel, Margaret is shipwrecked on the coast of Scotland with her mother and siblings while escaping the Normans in the 11th century. King Malcolm of Scotland sees the advantage and offers to marry her in exchange for helping her brother fight for the Saxon cause just over the border in England. Mrgaret has to adjust to the Scottish court, being a foreigner, and does her best to help the Scots as their new queen. Malcolm brings in Eva, a Celtic bard, granddaughter of Lady Macbeth (who King wrote about in her previous and wonderful novel), and Eva is not only a hostage of the king, but sent there to spy for Lady Macbeth. Malcolm and Eva clash - he even takes away her harp as punishment for her boldness - but Margaret unexpectedly forms a growing friendship with the young female bard whose cultural ideas are very different from Margaret's. The story builds from there, covering the first few years of Margaret's reign as queen in Scotland.

King's signature style -- lyrical voice, symapthetic and compelling characters, accurate research and real life details make this a read I couldn't put down. My ony regret is that King ended the story too soon, as I wanted to spend more time with these people in this fabulous setting. I loved Lady Macbeth, what a poetic novel, and Queen Hereafter has a different feel. More gentle and sensitive in ways that suit Margaret so well. It's not as dark and that suits this character, who is such a gentle, vulnerable soul cast into a situation where she must deal with unexpected challenges in life. Margaret wanted to be a nun, but no, her brother married her off to Malccolm to suit his own agenda. Malcolm is not the evil man we might expect, but a blundering oaf that we come to genuinely like. Highly enjoyable read, and highly recommended!
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved the Book! 7 Dec 2010
By PickyReader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Queen Hereafter characters are distinctive; the women, strong. The history is well researched, and Susan Fraser King's depictions of 11th century life in Scotland...gripping. That all makes for good solid reading. But that's not what gets me.

What I love, besides King's storytelling and that she clearly writes through the eyes and soul of an artist, is how she can make today's reader feel a kinship with the people of the 11th century, and with a sense of humor. That is, King's Queen Hereafter characters tackle the same compelling human issues and cultural dilemmas we do today--personal loss, overprotective loved ones ("Shall I advise him that his sister coddles him overmuch, and he should grow ballocks?"), class tension and tension between the sexes, fear ("she dropped to her knees and folded her hands, breath whispering over fingertips as she pleaded for an answer"), need to prove hardihood ("Margaret watched Malcolm lift a horn filled with wine, the liquid sloshing down his arm as he drank... many warriors found sport in emptying their drinking horns quickly in long gulps."), even anorexia. I was drawn into the characters' struggles and satisfied by King's skillful portrayals of their particular defenses and efforts to find solutions.

I loved this book! When's the movie?
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish Queen and Saint extrordinaire 15 Jan 2011
By Joan A. Adamak - Published on Amazon.com
This historical, romantic novel is a page turner and I loved it. It is based on twelfth century history in Scotland and Northumbria of England in a war between Norman William the Conqueror and King Malcolm (Canmore) of Scotland. Princess Margaret of England, along with her father, mother, sister and brother Prince Edgar the Aetheling, had fled to the royal court of Hungary, an extremely pious Catholic nation for sanctuary, but Margaret's father was called back to England and shortly thereafter suffered a mysterious death, for which Margaret, who was 8 at the time, blamed herself the rest of her life because she had coaxed him into eating some sweetmeats, which were poisoned. Because of her guilt, Margaret became very devout, intending to become a nun and after her father's death, her family and her were kept confined in an Abbey. Margaret followed the severe devotional life of the nuns, praying several times day and night, which, Margaret continued the rest of her life. No one could understand her, even the priests, but the novel indicates she was trying to atone for her father's death.

Her family was rescued from this abbey and fled across the channel in a boat, but were shipwrecked on the shores of Scotland. Her teen-age brother, Prince Edgar, sought King Malcolm's help to fight William and regain his Saxon kingdom. Malcolm was a warrior king and understood that Edgar would never be able to do this on his own and hesitated for several years to openly fight William, but kept raiding into Northcumbria, which had once been his.

Margaret, along with being extremely devout, was educated, beautiful, virtuous, and charitable. From the time she first saw Malcolm, she considered him a brute and totally uncouth. Malcolm, a widower, wanted Margaret and agreed to help Edgar if Margaret would become his wife and consort. Margaret was attracted and also disgusted by this man. Although Margaret was a gentle woman, rarely ever saying anything unkind or uncouth, she had a streak in her that would stand up to Malcolm in defense of others. In the beginning, she refused to marry Malcolm, but was finally persuaded that it would help Saxon England if she did. After her wedding night, which she dreaded, she found him to be gentle with her, whether in the bed or otherwise, and a part of her began to fall in love with him also. She soon found that he would accede to whatever her wishes or actions were and she was determined to bring refined culture to Malcolm and his palaces and worked many more hours than her strength allowed to bring charity to the people and gradually change their Celtic religion more under the religious rules of Rome and the Pope, although she could see the beauty of the Celtic religion. She taught and educated Malcolm, improving his Latin, French and English. She thwarted him in every way, but he recognized that she did so on his behalf and not her own and so she feared no consequences. She robbed his gold to help the poor, she released six prisoners whom she felt did not deserve to be held for ransom, she fed the people and personally fed children. Although she actually bore him six sons and two daughters, the book ends after the birth of three sons, which she almost lost because she would not eat sufficiently. No one understood this, but the book hints that she did this in atonement for her sins (her father's death.)

The character of Eva (although fictional) is inserted to elaborate more on the controversy between Lady MacBeth in the north of Scotland and Malcolm in the south, over the kingdom of Scotland.

The author says that there is more historical evidence to support Margaret than is usual from medieval times, and probably it is because she was considered a saint. I feel the book gains even more appeal after reading the Author's Note at the end of the story and I truly urge the reader to not by-pass it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!!! 17 Dec 2010
By Nadine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
After reading Lady MacBeth, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Queen Hereafter, even pre-ordered it. Once I started the first page, I couldn't stop and quickly devoured this book in a matter of days! I LOVED IT! I really felt, through Susan's writing, that I was right back there with Queen Margaret. Only thing I didn't like was that when I got to the end of the book I found myself wishing that it kept going on, and on, and on! I'll now be anxiously awaiting news/release of her next book!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good read 3 Jan 2011
By Wren - Published on Amazon.com
Queen Hereafter is a well rounded, nicely written sequel to Lady Macbeth with Margaret of Scotland as the main protagonist.

Susan Fraser King is a good storyteller who explores the friendship between two very different women skillfully while showing us the change in the traditions, habits and tastes of a society as it leaves the Dark Ages behind and enters the High Middle Ages without lecturing or boring the audience.

Another thing I like about this novel is that Susan Fraser King does not use the clichés of the "historical romance novel". I can imagine the lure of creating a bodice ripper for a writer when it comes to medieval Scotland, and Susan Fraser King does not fall into this trap. Her romantic relationships and marriages are realistic, not idealized.(Still, she could have developed the possible romance between Edgar and Eva)

In short, Queen Hereafter is an engaging, interesting book that you can curl up with - the perfect pastime for this year's awful winter weather-
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