“Blood Queen” by Joanna Courtney

I haven’t posted in ages. There’s a few reasons why but no sense getting into them here. Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things though!

Thanks to Little Brown Book Group UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This seemed like an interesting read but I didn’t realise for a while that it was based on real history as opposed to Shakespeare’s play. Macbeth is (rumoured to be) from my hometown but the real history is not something I was particularly aware of so I was looking forward to finding out more.

The book follows Sybil, the wife of King Duncan, and Cora, the Lady Macbeth character. The chapters alternate between their two viewpoints. I preferred Sybil’s character and story overall, I couldn’t really buy into Cora’s motivations and didn’t feel like I got a meaningful insight into her character.

The author clearly did her research but the voice of the book just felt too modern. Would an 11th century queen really refer to her son as ‘Lachy’? It didn’t help that names were changed to make them more accessible to the modern reader which I felt was unnecessary.

The plot also just felt a bit dull. It’s almost impossible not to compare it to the Shakespeare tale and, in my opinion, it’s just not a particularly interesting period of Scottish history.

Little things niggled me about the setting too like referring to Rosemarkie as ‘Moray’. It may be on the Moray Firth but is most certainly not Moray.

Overall, it was solidly ok but I wouldn’t be in a rush to recommend it to anyone.

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