Yes, I'm one of the authors in this anthology, but I hadn't read the other stories until now. Here are some of my thoughts:
"The Road to Cavan Town," b...moreYes, I'm one of the authors in this anthology, but I hadn't read the other stories until now. Here are some of my thoughts:
"The Road to Cavan Town," by Sarah M. Eden: A very sweet, heart-warming romance. Lovely start to the anthology.
"It Happened Twelfth Night", by Heidi Ashworth: Some of the best eye lash lines since Georgette Heyer's "The Nonesuch." Beautifully descriptive and the romance was sweet and fun.
"An Unexpected Proposal," by Annette Lyon: Romance in 1880 Logan, Utah. A young girl learns the hard way what's truly important in Annette Lyon's sweet winter romance.
"A Winter's Knight," by Donna Hatch: The heroine has always dreamed of stepping into the world of the gothic novel, and on Christmas Eve she gets her wish. Told with Regency author Donna Hatch's usual wit and charm.
"A Fortunate Exile," by Heather B. Moore: I haven't read a romance set at the turn-of-the century before. (Hmm, I guess in 2012 I need to specify which century. The setting is 1901.) Thoroughly enjoyed visiting this year and Heather's sweet romance. Though you may want a cup of hot chocolate to sip while you read this one. Heather definitely captures the anthology's winter theme. :-)
My contribution to the collection is "Caroles on the Green," set in 1151 England. All I will say is that I hope readers enjoy it. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it!(less)
Okay, so I'm the author. Of course I love this little short story I wrote, or I wouldn't have written it. :-) Someday I'm going to tell much more abou...moreOkay, so I'm the author. Of course I love this little short story I wrote, or I wouldn't have written it. :-) Someday I'm going to tell much more about these characters. For now, I hope a few of you enjoy this little Epiphany Day gift.(less)
Quite a beautifully written book. A little slow for me in some places, but the characters were well-rounded and "real" enough to me to actually make m...moreQuite a beautifully written book. A little slow for me in some places, but the characters were well-rounded and "real" enough to me to actually make me cry once. I particularly enjoyed the setting of the story during the reign of King William Rufus ("Red William"), successor to William the Conqueror. This is a reign I have found little addressed in fiction, and often somewhat glossed over quickly in the history books for the more "important" reigns of William the Conqueror and William Rufus's successor, Henry I. It was fun to read about the few historical characters I was familiar with from this period (William Rufus, Ranulf Flambard, Duke Robert of Normandy), and learn about some historical characters I had never heard of before (Hugh Goch, Robert de Bellême, Philip de Braose). Would I read it again? I'm not sure, just because it was a little sad at the end and I tend to shy away from sad books. But I'm hanging on to it for now, in case I change my mind.
(On second thought, it's probably not any sadder than Johnny Tremain and I've re-read that book many times, so I'll probably be keeping Knight's Fee.)(less)
Book Summary (from dust jacket): "Two young men walked with peril during those months of 1415. One was Robert Fairfield, in danger because of his reli...moreBook Summary (from dust jacket): "Two young men walked with peril during those months of 1415. One was Robert Fairfield, in danger because of his religion, and because of the enmity of the Duke of York. The other was King Henry V, who knew he was always surrounded by deceit and treachery and who let no man stand behind him. Robert Fairfield came from Wales to London to become King Henry's loyal follower in the hope of winning the accolade of knighthood. Since Robert was poor he rode alone, with his long sword, a belt of golden bells, and a shield bearing the device of a sleeping lion on a green field and the legend "Wake Me No Man." The wealthy merchant, Lewis Chappelle, hurrying citywards with his lovely daughter Constance, grudgingly asks Robert to join his party for the sake of his sword, and then to stay in the vast mansion by the Thames. Here Robert sense strange and secret currents, and is on his guard as a stranger and as a member of the Lollards, the sect that even so early believed in religious freedom and whose members were now banned, persecuted and killed. And in a tavern brawl he met again the Duke of York, cousin to the king, whose enmity Robert had gained in Wales. York's hatred is to follow Robert through the roads and battlefields of France to Robert's mortal peril. This is an exciting and colorful novel about two fascinating men. Robert is brave, resourceful, loyal, and his love story is as touching as it is honorable. But even more fascinating is the picture of Henry V, brave, determined, hard and cruel on behalf of England, kind and winning to his friends, who moves alone among his courtiers and his men, with his hidden dread of the assassin's knife or poisoned cup, yet always pressing forward to make England strong at home and abroad."
I first read this novel probably in junior high, and most likely because my sister was reading it. She'd checked it out from our local library. Judging from how much I had forgotten, much of it must have been over my head at the time. But I was struck enough with the characters, that I remember going back to the library, checking it out for myself, and reading it at least a couple more times between junior high and when I graduated from high school.
I lost track of the book when I went off to college, and only "rediscovered" it this past March (2008). By then, of course, the book had since gone long out of print. But I ordered a used copy through Amazon, and have just finished reading this splendid book again. I was afraid I might be disappointed, that the book might be somehow "less" than I remembered from my youth. Instead, it was much, much more. The subtitle of Walk With Peril is An Exciting Novel of Henry V and Agincourt. Fortunately, that subtitle only appears on the dust jacket, so I'd never seen it on the bookbinding or on the inside pages of the book. Otherwise, I might have dismissed it as "a book about battles", instead of "a book about characters" and never picked it up to read it. I've never been much interested in reading books about battles. But catch me up in a character, and I'll go all the way with him. And that's what Jackson does in Walk With Peril. She spends the first ten chapters developing the hero (Robert Fairfield), the woman he loves (Constance Chappelle), her merchant father, a surly servant who ultimately becomes Robert's most faithful companion, and even in some nearly heartbreaking scenes, a great mastiff dog. (Don't worry, she stays strictly in Robert's POV to do so.) By the time the hero Robert joins the troops of King Henry V and follows him on the campaign that will end in the famous battle of Agincourt, one is no longer worried about it being a "battle book". One merely is as ready to follow Robert wherever he goes, as Robert is ready to follow the king.
Walk With Peril was published in 1959. If you're looking for a "hot romance", this book isn't it. The romance is tender and touching and a little sad. It is also honorable, for above all things, Robert Fairfield is an honorable man, but the author does leave us with hope for him and Constance at the end. Neither is this book filled with page after page of detailed battle scenes. Yes, the battle comes...more than one, in fact...but once Robert leaves Constance to follow the king, the focus shifts to introducing the characters of Henry V and his plotting cousin, the Duke of York. And what characters they are! Each one shines like a jewel...each a flawed jewel, perhaps, but each all the more human and, therefore, intriguing and heroic for it.
Walk With Peril is a long lost jewel of an historical novel. I would love to see it reprinted some day.(less)
The mix of legend and history just didn't work for me in this book. It did spark my interest in learning more about the Frankish Merovingian kings, th...moreThe mix of legend and history just didn't work for me in this book. It did spark my interest in learning more about the Frankish Merovingian kings, though. (Predecessors to Charlemagne.) I'm going to read The Crystal Cave next, to see if it still measures up to my 5 star rating from my youth!(less)
Noting that others may feel very differently about the style of this book, I personally didn't enjoy the mostly omniscient POV of this story. I felt i...moreNoting that others may feel very differently about the style of this book, I personally didn't enjoy the mostly omniscient POV of this story. I felt it separated me too much from the characters, so that I never really bonded with any of them. I couldn't keep track of the endless number of characters, the pacing was extremely slow, with awkwardly placed flashback scenes and too much "stopping" to show off the author's research. The dialogue also felt stiff and unwieldly to me, even allowing a greater formality of "medieval" speech. Frankly, if I hadn't been reading this book for a 2009 book challenge, I wouldn't have bothered to finish it.(less)
Is "Catherine, Called Birdie", by Karen Cushman, a great way to learn about 13th Century England? Yes! Will "Catherine, Called Birdie" make you glad y...moreIs "Catherine, Called Birdie", by Karen Cushman, a great way to learn about 13th Century England? Yes! Will "Catherine, Called Birdie" make you glad you live in the 21st Century? Yes! But "Catherine..." is much more than a story of historical facts. At its heart, "Catherine, Called Birdie" is the story of a 14 year-old girl who is simply trying to grow up in the world into which she has been born. Catherine is at the story's heart, and Catherine herself IS the heart that keeps this story beating and breathing. If you're the kind of reader who can put yourself in Catherine's shoes and live her story though her eyes and heart, you will love this book! (This is my second reading, and I hope to read it many more times before I die!)(less)
Does this book have its flaws? Definitely! Parts of it are thick with narration and can prove heavy slogging at times. Some readers will enjoy all the...moreDoes this book have its flaws? Definitely! Parts of it are thick with narration and can prove heavy slogging at times. Some readers will enjoy all these details, but if you're a reader like me, this is how I would recommend you read this book:
Read the Prologue Read "The Beardless Youth", especially for any parts that include Raoul de Hartcourt (feel free to skim the battle scenes if you want) Read "The Rough Wooing", focusing on the "courting" of Matilda of Flanders by Duke William of Normandy, and all the scenes between Raoul de Hartcourt, Edgar the Saxon, and Gilbert d'Aufay. SKIM "The Might of France", but do NOT skim any scenes between Raoul de Harcourt, Edgar the Saxon, and Gilbert d'Aufay...these three form the true "heart" of this book, in my opinion Read "The Oath": In my opinion, the most powerful section of this book Read "The Crown" (though if you're squeamish, again feel free to skim through the battle scenes) Read the Epilogue
Why is this my favorite retelling of the story of William the Conqueror? Because in spite of the book's flaws, the is the one fictional account I've ever read where the author gives an honest effort to presenting both sides of the conflict between Normandy and England, William and Harold Godwinson. Both men, who appear together prominently in "The Oath" section, are drawn with all their individual strengths and flaws. Both appear as strong, powerful personalities and individuals. Ms Heyer does not take the easy or "politically correct" approach by attempting to draw one side more righteous or noble than the other, but gives us two worthy adversaries who, under different circumstances, might have ended as friends rather than enemies. Her portraits of William of Normandy and Harold Godwinson have dominated my imagination of these two men for over 30 years.
If, in regards to the Battle of Hastings, you are a Saxon sympathizer and have written off all the Normans as evil and grasping, you will probably not appreciate this book. But if you're willing to read with an open mind, to a view of striving to understand both sides of this historical equation, than "The Conqueror" by Georgette Heyer is a book well worth pursuing.(less)