Monday, September 27, 2010

Review: The King's Daughter, by Penny Ingham

Pages: 317

Original date of publication: 2004 (as Lady of the Mercians)

My edition: 2010 (Cava Books)

Why I decided to read: it was recommended to be through Amazon UK

How I acquired my copy: Amazon UK, May 2010

The King’s Daughter is the story of Elflaede, daughter of Alfred the Great, King of Wessex during the late 9th century. Elflaede herself became a Queen in her own right, and became known as Lady of the Mercians through her marriage to Ethelred, King of Mercia. As she continued her father’s quest to keep the Viking invaders at bay, in this novel, she falls in love with the very person she’s not supposed to—Guthrun, a Viking himself.

I had to look up Alfred the Great and Elflaede up in order to get the full story of both, since I felt that the history got a little lost in the love story of Guthrun and Elflaede. I also wish that Alfred had been a greater presence in this book; although he was at the height of his powers at the time the book is set, I really didn’t feel the full weight of what a great leader he really was. Elflaede seems way to modern for the time period, and she’s pretty much always perfect. I kept waiting for her to make a mistake, or prove in some way that she was human, but I was disappointed.

All of the characters are either very, very bad or very, very good, which made them much less believable as people. What it all boils down to is that the Saxons are the good guys and the Vikings the bad, and none but Guthrun has any redeeming characteristics, either. Still, the book moves at a smooth pace and is well-written. However, although it’s only been a week since I finished reading this book, I had a hard time remembering the characters or the plot of this novel—never a good sign. I’m not sure I love the new title, either—there have to be at least half a dozen books out there called The King’s Daughter.

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