[Review] Lady Macbeth by Susan Fraser King
Title: Lady Macbeth
Author: Susan Fraser King
Publisher: Crown 2008
Theme: Fictional story of Lady Gruadh (GROO-ath), who became Lady Macbeth in Scotland.
Rating: 4 Stars
Gruadh is also found Online as Gruoch. Both pronunciations are difficult for me. Gruadh is how her name appears in this book.
Her full name was Gruadh inghean Bodhe macCineadh mhic Dubh.
Her father's side of the family was a royal branch of Scotland, and through her mother were kings of Ireland. She was a pure blood royal. Thus a perfect candidate for marriage. Ambitious men wanted to marry her in order to produce a royal branch from their offspring.
It is difficult to separate what I've learned through Shakespeare's story of Macbeth, versus the story from Susan Fraser King. Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth is infamous, powerful, dark, dramatic, dangerous. Susan Fraser King's Lady Macbeth or Gruadh is brave, feisty, independent, loyal, intuitive, prophetess. While reading Lady Macbeth I often thought of Shakespeare's Macbeth.
When Lady Macbeth begins, Gruadh is a young girl and she is abducted. Her father and older brother rescue her. Her brother is killed. A second time she is abducted, her father finds her and brings her home. The second time was a close call as she was taken further away and by Vikings. After the death of her brother, Gruadh is left an only child. Her father plans an advantageous marriage match. Her first marriage is to Gilcomgan. While late in her pregnancy she becomes a widow. Before the birth of her son she marries Macbeth.
One of the strengths of this book is in drawing me in to the time period and setting of rugged Scotland. I could easily picture in my mind the unfolding story.
A second strength is the relationship Gruadh and Macbeth had. I was pleased that their relationship, even though it began with several negative attributes, became one of respect and affection.
I'm glad I read this story, it was a book that had been in my "wish" pile for a long time.