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Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence

(The Troubadours Quartet #1)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  634 ratings  ·  132 reviews
1150 in Provence

On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a patron in Ali Enor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros.

Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build th
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 5th 2015 by The 13th Sign (first published October 12th 2011)
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Average rating 3.73  · 
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 ·  634 ratings  ·  132 reviews

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Start your review of Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence (The Troubadours Quartet #1)
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc
This was my second book by Jean Gill. After reading No Bed of Roses, I made it a point of reading more by the author. Naturally, I was going to love it and so I did.

When an exciting plot is written with an equally excellent writing style, the result you get is books like Song at Dawn.

Historical Fiction is one of my favorite genres and I was glad to encounter with a wonderful book such as this.

Since the beginning, you are on the edge of your toes to confront what occurs next. There was mystery
"She remembered that she had a plan but the girl who made it was dead. Had to be dead and stay dead. So who was she now? She needed a name."

When you see these opening lines in a book, you can't help but take the book in your hands and stay away from the rest of the world for a while.

Historical Fiction being one of my favourite genre, I had an exciting time with Song at Dawn.

Breathtaking plot, believable characters, marvelous narration had a spellbinding effect on me.

You read the book and acknowl
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Liza Perrat
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spell-binding and highly entertaining. Song at Dawn, first and FREE book of 'The Troubadours Quartet' is set in 1150 in Provence, France. It is the “troubadour era”, and the period following the Second Crusade, and follows the adventures of the young Estela de Matin.

Fleeing abuse, Estela is found in a ditch by Aliénor of Aquitaine (Queen of France at the time), who, impressed with Estela’s beautiful singing voice and lute skills, welcomes the girl into her court. Aliénor takes Estela to Ermengar
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved Song At Dawn - what a brilliant start to the series! Full of fascinating historical detail, political intrigue and a good dash of romance and adventure the story brings medieval France and Estela’s journey to vivid life. Jake Urry’s narration adds another level of enjoyment by conjuring up different tones for the multitude of characters and guiding the listener safely through the complex plot. A fabulous audio experience and a great book - Jean Gill just can’t go wrong for me! Now all I ...more
Karen Charlton
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
'Song at Dawn' by Jean Gill is a fabulous historical novel.

It is the story of Estela, a gifted young musician, who is swept up into the retinue of one my favourite historical characters of all time: Aliénor (Eleanor) of Aquitaine. Then the Queen of France, the cultured Aliénor takes Estela on a visit to the court of Ermengarde, Viscomtesse of Narbonne, where the natural talent of the beautiful girl is tutored by the dashing Knight and troubadour, Dragonetz.

Rich in historical detail, this novel
Loraine Alcorn
Dec 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked Song at Dawn by Jean Gill. I really love the time period and try and read anything that comes out like this . Song at Dawn really gave me a feel of what it was like to be at court around the time of the crusades. It tells us just how much intrigue was present even among performers and servants. I liked all the characters and thought the romance was very realistic and believable.
The story was very interesting and was well written and researched . I would recomend this book to anyon
Melanie Lewis
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'll start with a disclaimer; I never read historical fiction. I love history and always chose non-fictional history books over fictional stories. Having said that, I enjoyed Song at Dawn hugely. I wasn't really expecting to as I do get frustrated when there are inaccuracies in historical fiction books. Jean Gill has kept a very close line to the true nature of the politics of the time. I highly commend her for the huge amount of diligent research she must have undertaken to get this story so ac ...more
J.G. Harlond
Jan 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I have now read all the stories in Gill's Troubadour Quartet – Song at Dawn, Blade Song, Plaint for Provence and Song Hereafter – and plan to read each again in the near future. The storylines are page-turners, but you have to pay attention to pick up hints and plot threads, too. The main characters are multi-talented and complex: Dragonetz Los Pros, a knight of noble birth is far more than the usual flawed hero. The emotionally-wounded heroine is of more humble origins and goes by her court nam ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Tale of Queens

In the time of the Crusades, religions tore the world apart. Not that constant warfare wasn't the standard of the day, but now questions of faith had an additional fire to them as ecclesiastic and royal politics conspired and feuded, and Courtly Love inspired song, but was despised by clergy. This story somewhat follows the travels of Aliénor (Eleanor) of Aquitaine, Queen of France, newly returned from the Holy Lands, across France, with an extended stay in Narbonne on her way t
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Firstly, historical fiction is my favourite genre and I particularly like medieval history. I have read a few books about Eleanor of Aquitaine and was looking forward to reading this. I really enjoyed most of it but sadly was spoiled by the ending which just seemed to fizzle out.
Laurette Long
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
‘Day is nigh…we must be parted’
So sings the troubadour leaving his beloved’s bed as the sun’s rays turn the sky to pale rose and gold.
The only thing I wanted to do when I finished ‘Song at Dawn’ was to download Book 2 in the series and find out what happens next in the enthralling love story of Estela and Dragonetz. Review it? No time! I was hooked, a 12th century history junkie, transported to Occitania, caught up in this medieval French version of ‘Game of Thrones’, or, as a grieving Raimon T
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book I have ever read by this amazingly talented author but it surely will not be my last as she has me completely enthralled on this the first historical novel in a quartet, set in 12 century France. Ms Gill draws the reader into the intricacies of the noble courts of the times, where gossip abounds between the ladies in waiting full of treachery and malice, and romance, love and adventure follow. The reader gets to follow the life of Estela, the girl of mysterious origins who ...more
Michelle Ryles
This is the first book in The Troubadours Quartet series and it certainly won't be my last - I absolutely loved it. I do love historical fiction but I've never read anything set in the medieval period; I feel like I've learned so much along the way as all I ever knew of Eleanor of Aquitaine was that she was Richard the Lionheart's mother. So this book was a real treat for me.

It's hard to get to grips with the medieval French names at first but it's surprising how familiar they become so quickly.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Song at Dawn is historical fiction at it’s absolute finest. You will immediately be entranced and in love with everything about this book. Setting the scene in 12th Century France, Jean Gill paints an incredible picture of life at the time. It’s the perfect pairing of history, romance and mystery. To describe this novel in a word: Masterful.

Dragonetz los Pros is Commander of the Guard to Queen Alienor of Aquitaine. In addition to acquiring this noble status of Knight at such a young age, Dragone
Elizabeth Horton-Newton
Writing about the 12th century and doing it with authenticity is a daunting task. Jean Gill has stepped up to the challenge and achieved success in “Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence”, Book One in the Troubadour Series. Blending true events with the imagined experiences of both real and fictional historical characters, Gill has created a story that takes hold and won’t let go. From the moment Estela, her lute, and her canine companion Nici awake in a ditch my attention was focused on their adventur ...more
B.J. Tiernan
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Song At Dawn is the perfect title for this literary masterpiece. The story takes place in southern France in the twelfth century following the second Crusade. This was a time when strong women ruled, specifically Alienor of Aquitane and Ermengarde of Narbonne.

The story is told with a careful balance of violence, deception, romance, honor, and the will to fight for that honor. Author Jean Gill masterfully weaves this fictional tale with accurate Medieval history in a way that I have not experienc
Janie Squier
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Lady's Love, A Knight's Dream

"Song At Dawn" takes hold at once and never lets go. It's not a quick read, but it is well worth the time. It’s deep, but not a burden. I'm definitely going to read the entire series. 

We are introduced to Estela under an assumed name at the very start. When the reveal comes a good third of the way through the story, it sneaks in quietly and then explodes. The surprise is total, unexpected and perfect. And it isn't the only one. The Lady Sancha has her own secret, a
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading “A Song at Dawn” by Jean Gill. Any book that has something to do with Eleanor of Aquitaine grabs my interest right away. I also thought the author’s writing style had a nice flow to it, which made it easy to read. I thought the intrigue in the novel between the characters was interesting, and it kept me interested and the suspense in the story kept me reading to find out what would happen next. There were some really great and unexpected twists within the novel, which wa ...more
Shiv Harsh
Oct 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It will make you sing at dusk, too!

I was told that “Song at Dawn” was a work of historical fiction. I am not so sure. If you just change the names of people, and throw in a televised political debate or two, we could be talking about modern times.

That is the joy of this book. The characters are all too human, as are their intrigues. Human passion, desire, greed, and lust know no centuries. And the skill of the author is such that emotions are made timeless, but the historical accuracy is maintai
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is an interesting and easy read due largely to the author's excellent writing mechanics. The main characters are fictitious, but they carry the story lines in good fashion. The historical aspects of the book interested me most. The book is set in the 12th century in the south of France where Jews, Christians, and Muslims live. My historical take is as follows:
1) The Jews, Christians, and Muslims get along until their separate agendas cause disharmony.
2) The troubadours sang about past a
Benjamin  Thomas
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
The complex narrative of Song at Dawn is breathtaking. This, combined with the narration by Jake Urry make this a compelling read. I'm always in awe how Urry adds an eery, seductive quality to the characters. It brings the story into another dimension that's hard to put into words. The sound quality and production of the audiobook was excellent. The background music added virtue and an authentic feel throughout the book. ...more
I liked the story but there were just too many people to keep track of. I'm not sure if I will read the next one. ...more
Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Estela de Matin has secrets and that made her an engaging character right from the beginning. Alienor is intrigued too and takes her into her household out of curiosity. The women build a kind of trust even as politics and scheming threaten Queen Alienor and those around her. The Victomtess of Narbonne, Ermengarda, has to put her people first and the whole of France second. Estela is talented in both singing and playing her mandora, so she’s placed as a troubadour in training.

I thoroughly enjoye
Notes From 'Round the Bend
**I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jake Urry. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.**

While I've never read/listened to anything by Jean Gill, I've become a big fan of Jake Urry's narration. I also love historical fiction, so when I saw he was reading this novel, I was all over it.

I have...mixed feelings about my choice.

On the one hand, the story was intriguing, with comp
Elena Alvarez Dosil
Oct 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rewiew originally published at: A young girl is found in a ditch beside the path Alienor of Aquitaine’s entourage traverses. She is afraid for her life, and escaping from a dark past, she makes up a new name. Estela de Matin closes so a chapter in her life and starts a new one. Thanks to her musical talents, Alienor and Dragonetz los Pros, a renowned troubadour and crusader, decide to take her in and let her travel with them to Narbonne, to visit Ermengarde’s court.

Historic and fictitious charac
MS White
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
SONG AT DAWN by Jean Gill - a review

This is the first in a quartet of novels, though I believe the last is yet to be published.
Set in France in 1150, the author tells a tale of a waif found by the roadside who, by dint of a rare talent and patronage, rises in stature and wins the knight of her dreams. But such a precis hadly does it justice; I’ve produced some historical fiction of my own in days gone by, and this is exactly the sort of rich, meaty, flavoursome novel I was trying to write.
If you
Monica Kelly
Aug 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Song at Dawn is a historical fiction, set in Medieval Occitania after the Second Crusade. The author takes the readers/listeners on a medieval action-packed women’s adventure following the Second Crusade. This is the first book I’ve read by Jean Gill and also my first listened to narration by Jake Urry I loved the narration Jake he did a fantastic job, making the characters come to life.

We follow Estela de Matin, a teenage runaway ran away. Estela de Matin encounters Aliénor of Aquitaine, the Qu
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
The book begins with a young girl on the run, the consort of the King of France and her guard Dragonetz. From here we get intrigue, espionage, romance, unrequited love, attempted assassinations, unclear alliances, deception, and conflicts of interest. Enough to keep most readers happy. There is not a lot of time spent detailing life in this time period, yet the way the book is written it does give the reader an understanding of the times. This book reminds me of Pillars of the Earth by Ken Folle ...more
Jeanne Felfe
May 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Disclosure: I received this audio book free from the author with no expectation of a review, and I do not personally know the author. This is my honest review. Note - I make it a point to not outline plot points or anything that might give the story away.

I'm still new to audio books and this was only the 2nd I've listened to. I reviewed a clip before accepting it and was at first concerned that I would have trouble understanding the narrator's accent. But I gave it a go and am glad I did. I abso
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Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named 'Endeavour', a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English in Wales and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Carmarthenshire. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.

Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels,

Other books in the series

The Troubadours Quartet (4 books)
  • Bladesong: 1151 in the Holy Land (The Troubadours Quartet #2)
  • Plaint for Provence (The Troubadours Quartet #3)
  • Song Hereafter: 1153 in Hispania and the Isles of Albion (The Troubadours Quartet #4)

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