Why did I love this book?
If you are interested in early England’s history you would have heard of Alfred the Great – but what of his children, especially his daughter, Æthelflæd, who became The Lady of Mercia, almost, our first English Queen? Set between the years AD 874 and AD 918, Ms. Whitehead’s research about this turbulent period of Viking invasion, and of Æthelflæd's life, is impeccable. All the characters are believable and the writing itself is beautiful. The author handles the politics, the personal feelings, and the warfare with skillful competence. What is so enthralling about this novel is the author's dextrous ability to blend the facts (those few that are known) with her imagined ‘made-up’ scenes and interactions. This is how good historical fiction should be written and how history should be told – as well-crafted, superb storytelling.