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Elfrida: The First Crowned Queen of England Hardcover – 15 Aug 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (15 Aug. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1445614863
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445614861
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 16 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 762,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

‘An engaging portrait’ (All About History)

‘The life-story of this remarkable figure’ (Ryan Lavelle, BBC History Magazine) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Elizabeth Norton gained her first degree from the University of Cambridge, and her Masters from the University of Oxford. She has written many books on the Tudors and England’s Queens for Amberley. She lives in Kingston Upon Thames.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Elizabeth Norton has written more than a dozen non-fiction books, many of them focusing on Tudor times and Tudor women in particular. This book, an account of Elfrida, takes her writing outside those times, back to the tenth century. As with any book writing about Anglo-Saxon England there is much that is not known; sources are scarce, or difficult to place in context, or may be considered unreliable. So there are, of course, in a book that writes about one person in the tenth century, a lot of ‘maybe’ and ‘perhaps’ moments. But that doesn’t make it any less interesting, or any less important for such books, and accounts of such lives to be written.

Elfrida was the wife of King Edgar ‘the Peaceful’, who was born around 943 and who died in 975. He was a younger son of King Edmund I, King of the English from 939 to his death in 946. As his two surviving sons were young and there was no set rule of succession in those times, Edmund was succeeded by his brother Eadred. Edgar came to the throne in 959.

Elfrida (or Elfrthryth as she is also known) is a more shadowy figure, as is to be expected of a woman, albeit one that was married to a king. The author has written here of her likely family and her life up to her marriage to Edgar, based on what is known, and what can be discovered from the sources that we have available to us. This is surprisingly full, I found, given that the lives of tenth century women were not generally thought worthy of comment, or note to most early writers. Today, Elfrida is perhaps more known, if she is known at all, for an act she was held responsible for, which occurred after Edgar’s death. But it is extremely interesting to read about her in the context of her times, which the author has very successfully done in this most engaging read.
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excellent
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NOT READ YET BUT AS EXPECTED
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Very good for those who love history, and a excellent description of life for high born women in Medieval Britain.
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Here we have a carefully researched, information packed, very readable account of the life and times of Elfrida (circa 945 to 1001). Elizabeth Norton is at her best here as she brings to life a host of characters from well over 1000 years ago.

The book is divided into 14 chapters:
1: Elfrida's Early Life
2: First Marriage.
3: King Edgar.
4: Elfrida's Marriage and Queenship.
5: The Tenth Century Religious Reform.
6: Elfrida's Role in the Reform Movement.
7: Imperial Ambition.
8: The Heirs of King Edgar.
9: The Murder of Edward the Martyr.
10: The Aftermath of the Murder.
11: Ethelred's Minority.
12: Elfrida's obscurity.
13: The Return of the Vikings.
14: Elfrida's Old Age.

Notes, bibliography and index are also included, but there are no maps or genealogical tables, although a series of helpful illustrations are included on pp 103 to 114. The index is restricted mainly to names, which means that the 'E' section is nearly as long as the rest of the index on account of their being so many characters whose names begin with 'E', although they may not actually have done so in their day and age because where 'E' is more often used these days, it was 'AE' in Anglo-Saxon parlance. Alfred and Athelstan are unchanged because they have the 'A' without the 'E'.

When reading this work it's helpful to always have both a genealogical table and historical maps to hand to enhance the enjoyment of such a good read, which will inspire the reader to follow up on the information on websites such as Wikipedia. I hope Elizabeth Norton will research and write more history about famous women because she is very good at it. This work proves the truth of the old adage that 'truth is stranger than fiction'. It certainly carries the reader along at a cracking pace sadly absent from so many 'great fictional works.'
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Format: Paperback
To the extent that she is known at all, the Saxon Queen Elfrida is notorious for supposedly arranging the murder of her stepson, King Edward, called the Martyr after his death in 978, in favour of her own son by King Edgar, Ethelred, later called the Unready. This book pieces together the sources to present a reasonable picture of her life, probably as extensive as we are ever likely to get. The sources accusing her openly of murder are late and it may be that she was blamed more at the time for failing to punish the supporters of her son who were the murderers, rather than necessarily being among their number herself. Nevertheless, her name became quickly notorious for the murder, and her every other action has been interpreted in this light. She was a great religious reformer, re-establishing monasteries and nunneries, but these were seen as acts of atonement for the murder. An interesting individual, her political power and influence may have provided a model for her daughter in law, Emma of Normandy. A fascinating study.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is always great to find a text about a historical charater you know little about. There seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment to resurrect the memory of some of the more obscure royal partners and this is a good example. It was easy to read and well researched, but I got the distinct impression that it was a construct based on little actual documented evidence. I was left wondering whether Elfrida was the product of bad PR or really was the evil step mother
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