Tatiana's Reviews > Les voiles de Frédégonde

Les voiles de Frédégonde by Jean-Louis Fetjaine
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's review
Jul 11, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: medieval, set-in-france, heroine-centered, french-author
Read from July 10 to September 18, 2012 — I own a copy

An easy to read, agreable novel, that leaves the beaten path of the historical and medieval genres.

Indeed, most of the medieval novels are set in the second half of the Middle Ages, and, when it comes to novels set in France, the early stages of the Frank kingdom are often swept under the carpet. Therefore, I found refreshing that this book describes this transitory period of the French history when Gallo-Roman culture and Gaulish language knew their last moments. The heroine is precisely a young pagan Gaul who adopts Frankish name and culture in order to climb the social ladder.

The historical character of Frédégonde is of course highly fictionalized. Spouse of one of Clovis's grand-children, we know relatively few things about this woman and her origins. It doesn't matter if the informations given in the novel are fictitious (it's a novel, after all), it remains credible, when it comes to characters psychology as much as when it comes to events (many of them being based on chronicles of the time).
The novel's heroes are not exactly the likeable type, but their partially true trials and tribulations easily grabs the readers' attention I think.

Fetjaine knows how to give life to these characters so remote from us, and very simply he makes history alive.
The only fly in the ointment would be that I thought the novel lacked a bit of epic here and there, but on the whole it remains well built and interesting.

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