I bought this book for the simple reason that, having won the second in the series from a Goodreads Giveaway, I felt it would be much fairer to read tI bought this book for the simple reason that, having won the second in the series from a Goodreads Giveaway, I felt it would be much fairer to read this first book first.
The story of "Hangman Blind" is set in Yorkshire, which I know a little about, at a time I know not much about at all. I had heard of the Peasants' Revolt, John Wyclif and Wat Tyler, but only briefly in passing. I'm not generally interested in politics, so I wasn't sure whether this tale was going to be my cup of tea after all.
It begins in awful weather. Wet, cold, miserable weather which I could sympathise with because it was written so well that I could almost feel the rain trickling down my own neck as I read. There's a lot of wet weather in this book, and it's clear that the writer is familiar with the unpleasantness of it.
The characters are well written. Even comparatively minor characters are given enough background and history to make you feel you know them, and the more solid players are made real with personalities from which they rarely diverge, except when a little subtlety or an air of mystery is called for. One interesting feature is that almost nobody is all bad. Whatever their misdeeds (and there are quite a number of misdeeds in this book!) they have redeeming features and reason behind their actions, so that those who have the care of soul and/or body feel sorrow rather than anger when they fall off the straight and narrow.
The story is densely written, packed with fact and incident, and carries you along on a breathless, twisting road of murders, births, feasting, following, jousting, spying and dancing, to a denouement which I must confess I was slightly thrown by. Although I had guessed some of the answers by that time, there were mysteries still to be solved or proven, and one particular chapter seemed to be throwing out confessions and solutions in every other line! The impression, after a number of tense chapters of suspense, was suddenly quite comic, but I believe it was a way of indicating the relief felt by the characters when their own particular worries and fears were eased and all was about to become well again.
I find it hard to give a rating to this book. I enjoyed it very much, and am in awe of the fantastic amount of research work which has obviously gone into it. I would love to give it four and three-quarter stars, I think, but that isn't possible. On the other hand, if I give it five, that might put off those potential readers who are always suspicious of perfect scores! Can I manage a 5-minus . . . ? No, it deserves five stars, and shall have them.
I can recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well-plotted and well-written tale from a time so far removed from ours, but I'm not going to give away any more of the story because I don't believe in spoilers. Well done, Cassandra Clark!
Oh, by the way - I hope to start reading the second book in a day or two, and I have already bought the third. I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Hildegard and, perhaps, her hounds....more
I can't remember how many years it is since I read this book, or how many years since the friend to whom my copy was lent didn't return it . . . but II can't remember how many years it is since I read this book, or how many years since the friend to whom my copy was lent didn't return it . . . but I remember it as being great fun, and filled with a bit of lust, a fair dollop of naughtiness and more than one laugh-out-loud moment.
Overall, though, in spite of the subject matter, there was a kind of innocence about the heroine and her adventures, even when . . . oh no, that would be a spoiler!
The book comes from the days when the world was so much younger, and even a really rather naughty book would not corrupt the reader for ever. Don't read it if you are easily offended, but if you're not - well, you would probably enjoy the story, I think.
I must see if I can get hold of a replacement for my long-lost copy!...more
"A Day to Go Gently" was written quite quickly a few months ago, simply because every time I put down my keyboard, the next bit would begin to write i"A Day to Go Gently" was written quite quickly a few months ago, simply because every time I put down my keyboard, the next bit would begin to write itself into my head.
It's not a perfect book, but I'm not ashamed of it. And I think it displays the heroine's own character in its imperfections.
It tells the story of one woman's journey through life, from her childhood on a farm through love and marriage to old age. Inevitably she dwells on her long relationship with one man - and inevitably, there are ups and downs along the way.
There are joys and sorrows, triumphs and tragedies, but I think the ending could be called happy.
This is a book intended for adults, and does contain scenes of love-making....more
Of all my books "Wild Honey" may be my favourite, if I'm allowed to have a favourite. I still read it and am still surprised by it. One particular secOf all my books "Wild Honey" may be my favourite, if I'm allowed to have a favourite. I still read it and am still surprised by it. One particular section makes the hairs on the back of my neck prickle every time I reach it!
It was written in two halves, over twenty years apart. I began it on a rare holiday, and then put the fragments away on my return home. Many years later I came across it when going through some old papers, read it, and decided that it deserved at least to be finished.
So I set to work, with no clear idea about what would happen - and this book is the result. I hope you will enjoy it....more
"St James the Less" is a history, very local, but very thoroughly researched, with lots of pictures old and new. There's a good amount of social histo"St James the Less" is a history, very local, but very thoroughly researched, with lots of pictures old and new. There's a good amount of social history in there, I think, along with the ecclesiastical content....more