Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be apart of the blog tour for; The Steel Beneath the Silk by Patricia Bracewell. I am super excited to not only be sharing this amazing book with you all, but I also have an exclusive guest post which is pretty darn great.
Firstly, I want to say thank you to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tours for the invite.
About the Book
The Steel Beneath The Silk by Patricia Bracewell.
Publication Date: March 2, 2021
Publisher: Bellastoria Press
Series: The Emma of Normandy Series, Book 3
Genre: Medieval/Historical Fiction
A breathtaking conclusion to Bracewell’s Emma of Normandy Trilogy, brimming with treachery, heartache, tenderness and passion as the English queen confronts ambitious and traitorous councilors, invading armies and the Danish king’s power-hungry concubine.
In the year 1012 England’s Norman-born Queen Emma has been ten years wed to an aging, ruthless, haunted King Æthelred. The marriage is a bitterly unhappy one, between a queen who seeks to create her own sphere of influence within the court and a suspicious king who eyes her efforts with hostility and resentment. But royal discord shifts to grudging alliance when Cnut of Denmark, with the secret collusion of his English concubine Elgiva, invades England at the head of a massive viking army. Amid the chaos of war, Emma must outwit a fierce enemy whose goal is conquest and outmaneuver the cunning Elgiva, who threatens all those whom Emma loves.
11th Century Rogues by Patricia Bracewell
Thank you for inviting me to your blog, Frankie. Although THE STEEL BENEATH THE SILK is the final novel in my trilogy about the 11th century queen of England, Emma of Normandy, the book can easily be read as a stand-alone, so no one should be afraid to dive into it. Queen Emma is the central figure, but given the Rogues mentioned in the title of your blog, I’d like to introduce your readers to some of the men who appear in this novel. Some of them are heroes, some are villains, all are based on historical figures. But because they lived a thousand years ago we know almost nothing about their personalities or about what their relationships with Queen Emma might have been. That gave me the opportunity to imagine them as I wanted or needed them to be in the book. I think the easiest way to begin is to divide them into English nobility and Danish vikings.
Æthelred, the English king, is a piece of work. Historians through the ages have labeled him a bad king partly because he had a habit of ordering the murder of anyone he saw as a threat to his rule. When the book opens in the year 1012, he has been king for over thirty years, beginning his reign after his older half-brother was murdered at age 16 so that Æthelred could take his throne. In my book, that dead brother’s vengeful ghost haunts Æthelred, making him a little bit mad. Æthelred was a widower with eleven children when he married the much younger Emma in 1002, and from the start he resented his politically savvy Norman queen, and he is suspicious of everything she does. Emma’s marriage to this grim, brutal man is a bitterly unhappy one.
The king’s four still-living sons from his first marriage are in their twenties now. The eldest, Athelstan, is in constant conflict with his father, not least because he has long harbored a secret passion for his father’s much younger queen. Yes! I’ve invented a romance between Emma and her eldest stepson. It’s not historical, but I couldn’t help it. They were about the same age, and because I imagined Athelstan looking like a young man that I spotted some years ago at a re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings…
well, my Emma couldn’t help being smitten.
Athelstan’s brother Edmund, younger by a year, is big and brawny, a warrior who will one day be called Ironside. He is one of the few people who has guessed that his brother is in love with the queen. Edmund doesn’t like Emma. He believes that she is plotting to have her young son by Æthelred take the throne when the old king dies, even though the kingship should rightfully go to Athelstan. Edmund and Athelstan have long argued about this, and nothing that Athelstan says convinces Edmund that Queen Emma can be trusted.
As for the Danes, well, they are vikings, and they’ve been marauding in England for years. Swein Forkbeard is the most important of them when the story opens. He is the king of Denmark and he has held a grudge against the English royals ever since Æthelred ordered a massacre of Danes in England in 1002. (That’s true!) Swein’s sister was among those murdered, and King Swein is fiercely determined to drive Æthelred from his throne.
Swein has two sons, and the younger son is named Cnut. Ambitious, sober, shrewd, ruthless when necessary, like all vikings Cnut is a sword-wielder. Because he is a younger son, if he is to have any future at all, he must carve out a kingdom for himself, and England is his prey. He is tall and handsome, with rust colored hair and beard. Of all the enemies that Queen Emma must face, both English and Danish, Cnut is the most dangerous.
So that’s my Rogues Gallery of just some of the male characters who stride through the pages of my novel. Now that you know their names and a little something about them, I hope that you’ll read the book to discover more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patricia Bracewell grew up in Los Angeles where her love of stories led to college degrees in Literature, a career as a high school English teacher, and a yearning to write.
Her first novel, Shadow on the Crown, about the 11th-century queen of England, Emma of Normandy, was published in 2013. Its sequel, The Price of Blood, appeared in 2015.
The final book of her Emma of Normandy Trilogy, The Steel Beneath the Silk will be published March 2, 2021.
Patricia lives with her husband in Oakland, California.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, March 1
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Tuesday, March 2
Guest Post at Novels Alive
Wednesday, March 3
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
Thursday, March 4
Review at Into the Hall of Books
Saturday, March 6
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Tuesday, March 9
Review at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, March 10
Interview at Passages to the Past
Thursday, March 11
Feature at Reading is My Remedy
Saturday, March 13
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books
Monday, March 15
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, March 16
Review at Madwoman in the Attic
Thursday, March 18
Feature at The Whispering Bookworm
Friday, March 19
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews
Monday, March 22
Review at Novels Alive
Tuesday, March 23
Interview at Books & Benches
Wednesday, March 24
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Friday, March 26
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Tuesday, March 30
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two paperback copies of The Steel Beneath the Silk!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on March 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
Giveaway Link: The Steel Beneath The Silk