"Shadow on the Crown" is by Patricia Bracewell.

Editor's note: This is one of a half dozen books that explore the lives of different figures in British royal history, including several set in the court of Henry VIII.

"SHADOW ON THE CROWN," by Patricia Bracewell, Viking, $16, 416 pages (f)

Author Patricia Bracewell's words have a life of their own in "Shadow on the Crown," making for a stunning, well-researched, historical fiction debut, which will be re-released in paperback in December.

Bracewell writes with a rich, descriptive quality that shows the reader what it was like to be 15-year-old Emma of Normandy in the year 1002. From the minute details of the wardrobe and daily tasks to the wonderous, vast landscapes and castles, Bracewell successfully transports the reader back into a time when a girl's life depended on the trust of her husband and her ability to bear a son.

The accurate dialogue should keep the readers immersed into the story and help them attach themselves to Emma as she tolerates her husband, avoids the wrath of Elgiva (a mistress who covets the crown) and falls in love with her husband's son, Athelstan.

There isn't any inappropriate language. The relationship between the king and Emma is harsh sexually, but there aren't any inappropriate references.

The alternating points of view should further endear readers to the characters and entice them to read on into the trilogy.

Tara Creel is a Logan native and mother of three boys. Her email is [email protected] and she blogs at