I absolutely love historical fiction, and I love Shakespeare, so when I passed by this book on the library shelf, I had to grab it! I was not disappointed.
Readers should know from the start that this book is based on historical documents and historians' opinions, rather than the famous play by Shakespeare. King seeks to portray the true Lady Macbeth as she most likely was in history, rather than the dramatic and often villified character known so well the play. There actually was a Macbeth mac bethad, King of Scots, who ruled alongside his Queen during the 11th century.
The story follows Gruadh (groo-ah) mac Bodhe, also called Rue, from the time of her childhood, when she is twice kidnapped in attempts to marry her pure royal bloodline and thereby claim the throne of Scotland. We learn of the true Celtic spirit and traditions that drive Gruadh in her everyday life to become a strong and fiery Scottish queen. The story follows her through her first marriage, arranged for political alliance, to her final days as exiled Queen of Scots. What falls in between is a wonderful story of Celtic traditions, magic, love and heartbreak, and of course the female persepective of the true story of Macbeth, all told against the beauitful backdrop of the Scottish landscape.
The story itself is a bit romanticized, I think, as most historical fiction tends to be, but the story is wonderfully told, and the details of everyday life in 11th century Scotland are truly amazing to read about. I felt the ending was a bit rushed, and would have liked to see an extra chapter or two, hence the length rating, but I believe part of the issue here may have been scant historical information for King to work from.
Anyone looking for a good book to read this fall with the coming chilly nights would be smart to check out this book- it's a great read start to finish!