Christmas Awards 2011

Friday, 15 January 2010

The Maiden's Tale

Robert Hale publisher
ISBN 978-0-7079-8851-6
hardback 224 pages


A visit to the home of Sister Frevisse's cousin, Lady Alice, becomes dangerous – for this home houses a secret that has turned deadly. Alice is involved in dangerous political machinations with the Duke of Orleans and King Henry V1…

Thus begins an involved and intricate plot as the nun arrives to help untangle the mystery of murder and political intrigue. Her journey involves a stop at the Abbey where she meets the new Abbess and leaves a young girl who had formally lived with Frevisse and her sisters. The girl's unease and total inability to control what happens to her is alone an insight into the times when women were at the mercy of the men of their families and most had no choice but to marry or become a nun. Without a dowry there was often no choice at all – which makes the determination and courage of the heroine of this book even more remarkable. A love affair that never has the chance of success and a good murder, what more is needed? The ending while not happy by modern standards resolves well enough and the plot was both interesting and engrossing.

This medieval tale gives a flavour of Chaucer's times and is authentic enough to make the reader feel that they know what life was like for the characters within this involved plot. I have not read any earlier volumes but I believe it to be a series of tales, though I'm not certain whether the heroine continues throughout. It is certainly well researched and written and will be welcomed by fans of this kind of historical story. A little heavy going for the romance reader but meaty enough to satisfy those in search of more.

I give this book 4.5 red roses. A thoroughly enjoyable read. Morna

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