Sunday 20 March 2011

Review: I am The Chosen King - Helen Hollick

In this beautifully crafted tale, Harold Godwinesson, the last Saxon King of England, is a respected, quick-witted man both vulnerable and strong, honorable and loving-and yet, in the end, only human. After the political turmoil and battles leading up to 1066, we all know William the Conquerer takes England. But Helen Hollick will have readers at the edge of their seats, hoping that just this once, for Harold, the story will have a different ending.

My Thoughts:
Another well-written tale by Hollick. In this one we follow the last 30 years before 1066, and see the fall of the last English King.

Harold Godwinesson is the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex. In his youth he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Edyth and takes her as his handfast wife. Because he knows that in the future he must make a alliance and get a wife in a Christian ceremony. We follow his life as he becomes Earl of East Anglia, as his sister Edith marries Edward (the confessor), as he fights with his brother Swegn, as they all has to go into exile. As the Earls grumble about what a bad king Edward is, as they try to subdue the Welsh, more fighting within the family, worrying about who the next king will be, and at last, Hastings.

That might seem like a lot but the book does chronicle 30 years, and they were not easy years. The book sometimes follows different people, and one of these is a certain young Duke of Normandy. A bloodthirsty man who later wants England. I liked that there were different POVs now and again, because even if we mostly follow Harold, we also get to see what other things. William, Edward, Queen Edith, and a few more. A hint what they might have thought about events taking place.

The book does what it sets out to do. It tells about these last years of Anglo-Saxon rule and what a man Harold might have been. And he is a good man who truly loves his hand-fasted wife (concubine). The bad guy in this tale is Duke William. As for King Edward, well him I mostly feel sorry for because he just is so useless.

A good historical novel, long yes, but it explained things nicely and she had her own spin on things. I liked this tale about how it all might have happened, and at last, this is fiction, we can never know the whole truth as Hollick says at the end. 

At the end I went nooo! Why? Because I did not want to see it happened, that which had to happen in 1066. We all know who won.


Reason for reading:
I like this time in history
Not for me
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 592
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Published: March 1st 2011
(first published 2001)
Source: For review


  1. Great review. I love the cover of this one.

  2. Seems to be an interesting novel. I may want to disagree with Yvonne on the cover. Great review.

  3. I'm a big fan of her Pendragon trilogy. I treated myself to A Hollow Crown and Sea Witch last year, but they're still sitting on my TBR shelf! So many books, so little time! Thanks for stopping by and following me--I'm returning the favor :)

  4. Yvonne
    Well, I like the blue at least ;)

    It is actually not a fav of mine, a bit to blend, so I am with you

    I loved The Hollow Crown, Emma was such an inspiring woman. You totally have to read once :D
    And thanks for stopping by

  5. it sounds like her books are really good!! i'm not really into the cover either, though.

  6. I've wanted this for long time and was so happy it got re-realesed.I'm happy you liked it! I'm planning on ordering it in next month :)

  7. Historical fiction is not my genre...but if it is well-written I sometimes break that rule :)

  8. I enjoyed your review a lot, you definitely convinced me to look for this book :) Thanks!

  9. I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but I feel like I really should try Hollick's work. Everyone seems to love it.

  10. It's been ages since I last read any historical fiction. I think steampunk is the closes that I've come. I really should pick one up sometimes soon since I do remember enjoying them.

  11. Yeah, that cover is kinda boring.
    Not a fan of historical fiction either...

  12. Carrie
    They are. Her book about Emma was awesome, I did like that one more, but that was only cos I really like Queen Emma :)

    Yay for a good re-release. I would not have known about it otherwise

    Hi Evie :)
    Good to hear, and I do recommend this excellent book

  13. Cherry
    It is good to get out of ones comfort zone now and again ;) But yes I know it myself, some genres are not for me

    I say yes to that. If you read these then start with the book before so you get the story in order. Though they are stand alone

    Yes pick one up! Steampunk in all its glory sure differs from the real deal

  14. Hm... this one sounds interesting, but I don't like the No at the end. Hm... I think I might keep this one on my list when I am feeling a bit historical. :)

  15. I have been very interested in reading more about Harold since reading the very short non-fiction book 1066. He sounds like a guy who got the very short end of a very important stick.

  16. Nice review. Not really my genre though. :)

  17. Melissa
    Do not fear the end, if there hadn't been that no then I would have been real mad ;) I just liked Harold and did not wanna see him lose

    Poor Harold, perhaps he could have won if people hadn't been trying to steal his kingdom left and right

    Thanks :) Yes, his fic is not for everyone, but I sure love it

  18. I will be reading this one soon. I have to admit to being a bit put-off by the sheer size of it!

  19. I keep seeing this one around the blo-o-sphere. It does sound like a great historical. I do like this author. Nice review!

  20. Sounds like a great detailed reading book. :) So glad you enjoyed it.

  21. Awesome review, girl! I wouldn't normally read something like this, but it sounds really well-written! :)

  22. Probably not for me because I struggle with historical fiction especially if the book is a long as this one, but Anglo-Saxon rule was a fascinating time. Plus who doesn't like sexy words like Wessex, or Essex or concubine.. okay so that one is not sexy, but it always makes me think of sex. LOL

    I'm so weird. Please ignore my comment.

  23. Nice review! not for me though =/

  24. Im going to have to open my reading boundaries and let this one in

  25. I too like the cover. I'm hearing a lot about this book.

    great post.

    I woke up Sunday a.m. to find my blog, my 500 plus followers, my 100plus author interviews, and my 200 plus reviews gone. Blogger gave no explanation, but I think the account was hacked. Change your password often!

    I have reloaded the interviews and reviews, plus redesigned the blog. But if you could, please hit the "follow" button so I can reclaim the fellow bloggers I miss. I'm still following you, as my account remained--thank goodness!

    Thank you!
    Kelly Moran

  26. I have this book on my wishlist! I love historical fiction novels. Can't wait to get my hands on this one! :)

  27. This sounds like a pretty intense historical fiction novel!

  28. I no absolutely nothing about what happened in 1066, so I'm intrigued.

  29. Nice review! I really enjoyed this one from Helen. I didn't want the ending either. I was quite attached to Harold!

  30. It's been years since I have been reading historical fiction, mainly the books by Jean Plaidy. I loved the one about Lucrezia Borgia most.

    But it is a genre I don't read anymore, I prefer historical romances, but a good background story to the lovestory is a bonus.

  31. This is a long one isn't it! Is it difficult to follow at all since it spans such significant amount of time? I don't read too many historicals, but when I do, I always enjoy them:)

  32. Lovely review and the novel is certainly something I would love to read!

  33. Staci
    It was huge, that's for sure. Luckily I had Sunday where I could relax and read the last part. Cos it's not a book to rush

    It's such an important part of English history and she weaves such a wonderful story

    It was great :) Would not have liked to live there though ;)

    Melissa Swim
    It's always nice to try new things ;)

    Ignore, no way, what a comment, Wessex, Wessex, that does sound really sexy, oh see, now you have me thinking about sexy Wessex for all eternity

  34. Larissa
    His fic is not for everyone :)

    I am saying one big yes to that :D

    Oh no! I am so sorry to hear that, that truly sucks. Now I got scared. I sure hope you wont have any more problems

    I hope you get to read it soon, and then I can't wait to see what you think

    It is recommended :)

  35. Anna
    Then this book will give you some insight. It was very interesting

    Poor Harold, he sure got the short end of that stick :(

    I like HR too, but I also like pure historical fiction, and the in between, oh I just love it all, lol

    I wouldn't say that. She had truly worked on trying to make it a bit easier for the reader

    Do I dare to recommend it, we are so cursed when it comes to his fic ;)



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