The story takes place during the reign of King Edward I after he got back from the crusades. Edward was criticized for how he dealt with the Scots and how he threw out the Jews... but the thing that I like about this book, is the inclusion of smuggling, especially wool. It directly reflects the historical relevance when King Edward I negotiated agreements with the domestic merchant community that secured a permanent duty on wool 25 years before the book takes place.The importance, for me, of historical fiction can be broken up into three factors:>
*Correct use of language/speech
*The correct customs, status/social division and behaviors and interactions with nobility and commoners.
Can you see why I have a hard time reading historical fiction? To top it off this is medieval fiction and aww man I have to know this stuff right? Again.. hesitation but I also had a bit of .............<antici....
Yes... breath still held I started reading. It begins with the basis for all our main players and the situations they face. A fantastic establishment and base for the build and filling out of the characters. I am stickler for this with any read. Park did not let me down. Our leading Lady Elsbeth and The Shadow/Sir Calan, a medieval superhero! *laughing* YES! OK BUT you have to understand this is normal for medieval lit, from Tristan & Isolde forward. The conventions of a medieval story has to have some kind of hero, usually in the form of a knight. I was frustrated a little bit because of the necessary adjustments to some period situations which were highly unusual to happen between the serfs and the nobility of the area. BUT it is not wrong, it has been known to happen and this is, after all a story. So at 20% in... I let go of my breath being held and dove in...
It was honestly impressive. Her lyrics were original (composed by the author) yet the meter, even before reading thesheet music
, I could almost hear in my head. Now, this is not my period but it is my area only 200 years prior. From the description and the fact it was on the coast where they smuggled the wool and other goods out, I know about where it could be. The wildflowers available and the celebration of May Day events and the feasts, though not detailed, were how it happened. In fact, this whole novel was building ofantici..............pation
with me, the reader and
all the players!
Historically it is hard to create a story about a medieval superhero, a dowager niece (loosely used term since technically dowager is reserved for widows but she is the sole recipient for her family lands) who is living with her uncle. She is smart and courageous and for a good reason. The only shining knight of her dreams is Sir Calan. But because she was getting old and other suitors would turn away once they saw her scars (gotta read it this is all I am gonna say). But, as you can read in the synopsis each need to find their way to a center within their lives which includes healing within. The weaving of history and this story for modern readers is lovely and I only had a few issues which frankly are just mine and so minor they did not take away from the story. Park's knowledge of medieval England is clear within the details of period clothing, food, societal customs, and as mentioned earlier, the music.
As for the language and vocabulary, I will be short here, I believe in making sure some correct use of language needs to be within novels like this. To make it palatable for everyone who enjoy reading you just keep it neutral. The big no no is using "Oh yeah!". BUT again for the modern reader most do not even see this and it was only a few oops. To the modern ear, the novel's language sprinkles just enough of the formality to give regular readers who are not period nazi's like me a taste and flow of the time. Like I said, only a few oops other wise it doesn't get in the way of the story.
Who would I recommend this too? Anyone who loves stories like Robin Hood, loves the time period and enjoys women who even though are strong they do not breakout of how woman are suppose to behave. Though Elsbeth is a strong woman, she follows the rules of society. There are a few times where questions arose.. a teenie tiny bit, but it is a story! She is a Lady of the realm and he is a Knight who is held in the highest regard with the King. Honestly I think anyone looking for a really good story would really enjoy this. The writing was top-notch, the story was solid, the characters are not only believable but I loved, hated, despised, desired and ended up craving cinnamon in the end!
I also have a period recipe which has cinnamon in it on the blog post where I reviewed it if you are intersted!Just click on the PUDDING! :)