Book Review: Lady Estrid: A Novel of Eleventh Century Denmark by MJ Porter

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Independently published
Pub date: 29 October 2020
Rating: 🌟 🌟🌟🌟🌟

Daughter, Sister, Duchess, Aunt.
Queen.

United by blood and marriage. Divided by seas. Torn apart by ambition.

Lady Estrid Sweinsdottir has returned from Kiev, her first husband dead after only a few months of marriage. Her future will be decided by her father, King Swein of Denmark, or will it?

A member of the ruling House of Gorm, Estrid might not be eligible to rule, as her older two brothers, but her worth is in more than her ability to marry and provide heirs for a husband, for her loyalty is beyond question.

With a family as divided and powerful as hers, stretching from England to Norway to the land of the Svear, she must do all she can to ensure Denmark remains under the control of her father’s descendants, no matter the raging seas and boiling ambition that threatens to imperil all.

I am a huge fan of MJ Porter’s The First Viking Age Series so was thrilled to be offered a copy of Lady Estrid.

Admittedly I’d never heard of her before but I had heard of her brother Cnut, King of England, Denmark and Norway.

The book follows Lady Estrid from a young lady sent to a political marriage through to her later life.

Lady Estrid first finds herself married to a prince of Rus before returning to Denmark after his death. There she awaits the decision of who she will next marry and who will make that decision? Lady Estrid has a far from easy life, she faces betrayal, bereavement and war as well as a few notorious family members some of who seek to use her as a pawn in marriage.

A large portion of the book is portrayed through letters to and from Lady Estrid which was an extremely engaging way to tell the story whilst giving a voice to many of the individuals and their experiences. It also gave depth to the relationships between Estrid and her family including her mother, siblings, children and extended family. Through the letters MJ Porter takes us on a journey through her families successes and failings, victories and losses across oceans and countries. I’m not sure I’ve read something where letters are used so much but it really worked!

Throughout her life Lady Estrid was the daughter, sister, aunt and mother to Kings and although her family members may be remembered sadly Lady Estrid is almost forgotten until now. Her love and loyalty to her family and Denmark is incredible and the story captures this perfectly and brings her to life as a strong, respected, independent female. This is fiction and whilst I’m aware the majority of the story is fictional I like how MJ Porter seamlessly weaves in history and I found myself learning about how Cnut became King of such an empire and how the Scandinavian countries were interlinked through family even if it wasn’t always friendly.

There are wars and battles throughout but as the story is told from Lady Estrid’s view there isn’t the usual blood and gore I’m used to from the authors books. However, that didn’t stop me from getting caught up in the story and thoroughly enjoying it.

Thank you to MJ Porter for the advanced copy, it’s definitely another success!

If you’d like to read about Lady Estrid and the battles for the thrones of England, Denmark and Norway then this is a great book.

Lady Estrid is due to be published on 29th October 2020 but is available to pre-order

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