My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I did not finish this book. Not because it was a bad book, actually I thought it was a wonderful book! However, I was looking for a quick, light summer read and this is the tale leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. I knew that, but I am an art history buff (and a glutton for punishment) so I decided to forge on anyway.
I initially started reading this book after studying the Bayeux Tapestry in-depth this past spring. The tapestry is an embroidered account of the Battle of Hastings. The particular panel that I was studying focused on a woman named Alfgiva. To make a long story short (too late) some of the papers believe her to be Emma of Normandy who happens to be the focus of this book.
The novel itself was fantastic! It was true to history and I was able to recognize some of the details of the story in the panels of the Tapestry. The cast of characters was numerous and I found myself keeping notes so that I would keep them straight. The plot was detailed and somewhat difficult to follow if I put the book down for an extended period of time. It was just difficult to return to over and over again.
I have no doubt that I would have finished the book at any other time, but I was looking for a fun summer tale to take a break from academia for a bit. This was too much like research for me at this point and I just could not finish the novel. I do plan to return to it at some point because of the wonderful historical detail but right now I need a break.