anna's Reviews > Gallimore

Gallimore by Michelle Griep
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's review
May 29, 12

liked it
bookshelves: christian-historical-fiction
Read from May 26 to 27, 2012

Though time travel novels have been `done before' the concept is well handled without being boring or repetitive, also the author's incorporation of fantasy elements into the story provide an interesting `twist' on the genre.
This said, the Historical detials including the description of Bannockburn and others described below seemed rather superficial and a little inconsistent at times, so I rather think that the novel would have been better as total fantasy (i.e not set in a real country at a real time) instead of Historical fiction. Admittedly the Historical setting was necessary because the herione had have a real past era to be transported back to, but because of the above the novel seemed to have rather an identity crisis.

The language of the characters was plausible enough, and least at the beginning, without being so archaic one must read what characters are saying several times. The characters are, for the most part, convincing and believable although some could have done with a little more `fleshing out'.

The heroine Jessica was sassy, independent, outspoken and spunky, but not too militant or overbearing. As would likely be the case, this often lands her in hot water, and she does learn not to `mouth off' quite so much as the novel progresses but does not lose any of her Spirit.

The hero Colwyn is suitably heroic and chivalrous, but not to the point of being fawning or clichéd. His courage lies more in strength of character in the face of adversity, than deeds of daring- do. I personally found his gritty pragmatism quite endearing and fitting with the time- in spite of whether his actions offended Jessica's modern sensibilities, which happened quite often.

On a personal level I was rather pleased to find that the British protagonist Cole (Colwyn's distant descendant) who befriends Jessica and the beginning of the novel is not subject to stereotyping as is often the case with some novels set in Britain written by Americans.

Now come the negaives

Firstly, there were a number of inconsistencies in terms of time and distance of travel and British geography in the novel which I found confusing and rather irksome.
For instance, it is stated that Colwyn and his men had been on the march for 2 days and were within 1 day's march of Bannockburn when he was transported back to Gallimore Castle by the thunderstorm which sent Jessica back in time. This would mean it was situated in the North of England feasibly little more than 100 miles south of Scotland, but later it is stated to be 4 day's ride from London, which would actually put it considerably further South.

Practically all of the characters travelled on their own or in pairs at night throughout the novel, even though medieval people would have knownn how potentially dangerous and foolish this could be, so would almost never have travelled at night if they could avoid it and simple common sense would make most people realise this was unwise.
Yet for all this and despite other characters clearly warning them of the dangers, and Colwyn almost being killed for travelling thus he and the other protagonists' persist in thier solitary nocturnal journeyings.

Also, there were a number of popular clichés about the medieval period, such as the depiction of medieval people as uncouth boorish barbarians who ate uncooked meat which they had grabbed from the spit, or which was still oozing with blood, and spitting on tables. In reality, the medieval aristocracy were very strict on manners and etiquette where dining was concerned, so the former depiction seems to be influenced by Hollywood movies more than historical fact.

There is also some idea that the King, in this case Edward II (1307-1327) could just go around doing whatever he wanted including 'eliminating' and decimating the lands of noblemen who had not given him assistance an Bannockburn.
It simply seems too far-fetched to imagine that such nobles would have stood idly by and tolerated such an action against them on the part of the King- more likely they would have raised and army to defend themselves. That the King risk incurring the opposition and wrath of most of the aristocracy, and likely plunge his kingdom into civil war to assuage his wounded prove himself losing a battle as is claimed in the novel just seemed absurd.

On a religious level the one thing that did concern me was that Christ was only mentioned once or twice, and this in the context of a passion play, and not all when Colwyn finds `peace' and forgiveness for his sins when this would have been most fitting.

As with some other reviewers I found the lack of resolution at the end rather disappointing, as I would like to have known what actually happened to Colwyn. It can reasonably be assumed that he died shortly after Jessica was transported back to the present, but it would have been nice to know for sure what finally transpired between him and the villain, and how some of the other characters ended up especially after the build-up to the dramatic conclusion.

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Reading Progress

16.0% "Quite good so far, the laguage seems fairly authentic- my only gripe is that there are a few cliches about the Middle Ages coming out."
22.0% "A few more cliches and some misconceptions- most notably the one which says Medieval people were uncouth barbarians."
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