Alyce Bradley has few choices when her father decides it is time she marry as many refuse to see her as other than the girl she once was—unruly, outspoken and close to her grandmother, a woman suspected of witchcraft.
Thomas Granville, an ambitious privateer, inspires fierce loyalty in those close to him and hatred in those he has crossed. Beyond a large dowry, he is seeking a virtuous and dutiful wife. Neither he nor Alyce expect more from marriage than mutual courtesy and respect.
As the King of Spain launches his great armada and England braces for invasion, Alyce must confront closer dangers from both her own and Thomas’s past, threats that could not only destroy her hopes of love and happiness but her life. And Thomas is powerless to help.
Catherine Meyrick is an Australian writer of romantic historical fiction. Her stories weave fictional characters into the gaps within the historical record – tales of ordinary people who are very much men and women of their time, yet in so many ways are like us today. These are people with the same hopes and longings as we have to find both love and their own place in a troubled world.
Catherine lives in Melbourne, Australia but grew up in Ballarat, a large regional city steeped in history. Until recently she worked as a customer service librarian at her local library. She has a Master of Arts in history and is also an obsessive genealogist. When she is not writing, reading and researching, she enjoys gardening, the cinema and music of all sorts from early music and classical to folk and country & western. And, not least, taking photos of the family cat to post on Instagram.
Thank you HFVBT and the author for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
The Bridled Tongue By: Catherine Meyrick
*REVIEW* ☆☆☆☆ Welcome to Elizabethan England, circa 1586, when Elizabeth I was queen, Mary, Queen of Scots, wanted to be queen, and women were otherwise treated with zero respect, belonging far beneath the wise men of the day. The Bridled Tongue is a stark reminder of the atrocities committed against women during this time period. Our heroine, Alyce Bradley, 28 years old, unmarried and just returned home from a 12 year banishment. Why? Her grandmother was rumored to be a witch. Alyce loved her grandmother deeply, and upon her death, rumors began to spread about Alyce being a witch, as she was very outspoken and unruly, so Alyce was sent away to the country. Now, returning as a woman grown, her father wishes Alyce to be married and offers a large dowry. He agrees that Alyce will have a voice in the choosing. Soon, the privateer, Thomas Granville, enters the picture, and he and Alyce are wed. It's a union of mutual agreement and respect. Unfortunately, both have issues from the past that will not rest. Alyce finds herself betrayed and scorned by those who should love her most. The old accusations of witchcraft rise out of nothing more than jealousy, bitterness and spite from a malicious horrible person. Alyce is a good person through the entire story. She is misunderstood and mistreated by others because they are so unhappy in their own lives, and Alyce is an easy target. Alyce is a remarkable character with so much strength and wisdom. Thomas is the perfect pairing with her, and despite his dark past, he is also a great character. Thomas is responsible, respectful and I admire these qualities. The story didn't read like historical fiction at all, rather it seemed like a dramatic movie because it moved so swiftly. Props to Catherine Meyrick for writing something so compulsively readable and alive with intrigue, insightfulness and the mirror of the true nature of people at their best and worst. It's a fantastic story. I strongly recommend reading The Bridled Tongue.
This is still a great book! I love how strong Alyce was. She was treated horribly by her family, but she never indulged in self-pity. Thomas was another great character. He married Alyce for her dowry but also because he respected her. I loved watching two practical people fall in love. I do wish there were more scenes with them together. He is a privateer and helps defend England against the Spanish Armada. So they are separated a lot . I also wish the author included more steamy parts.
The story is really about how one lie can lead to a dozen. The innocent Alyce is tried for witchcraft thanks to her crazy sister and other malice people. The Salem witch trails were really about stealing their neighbor's land.
*****original review *****
Read: 7/13/20 A well written, very historically interesting book. I loved Thomas from the first. Alyce had a sharp tongue and was guarded , though with her family, who could blame her. Her parents sent her away to live with a cruel woman for 12 years and never visited. When she comes home, they try to sell her in marriage. Her sister is the worst of the lot. She is so jealous and believes every bad thing that happens is bc of witchcraft. The family is irredeemable by the end, as well as the rest of the villains. I enjoyed Forsaking All Others, but this book was even better. No steamy sex scenes.
This brilliant historical fiction by Meyrick was set between Aug 1586 through Dec 1589 with an amazing story told within a very accurate historical timeline.
Our protagonist is Alyce Bradley who was quite the strong heroine, and an opinionated young woman who at the time was very close to being past her prime for a suitable marriage and family. Her father insisted that she marry as there were accusations about her being a witch. With a large dowry she finds herself matched to a privateer Thomas Granville. I loved seeing the development of their relationship from just a mutual understanding and respect for each other to the development of their love.
The story also leads us to a trial accusing Alyce of being a witch from nothing more than gossip, jealousy and misunderstandings as the basis of a life altering accusation. And of all people, this was initiated by her sister Isabel. My heart was torn to pieces to see Alyce be put into such suffering while in prison.
I truly enjoyed reading this book. The timeframe in which the story was told was perfect with the inclusion of the subject of witches and the witch hunt during that time and how thousands of women were killed due to frivolous accusations, really made this story a highly engrossing read. This was one of the few books where the story was very easy to follow with very clear writing by the author. The dramatic storyline was incredible including the immersion of the reader within the story. The descriptions were imaginative and vivid as I was drawn to Elizabethan England into the characters' lives.
I could imagine this book being made into a movie, and it would be pretty amazing for the love story and the dramatic trial scene. I highly recommend this book for historical fiction fans. Meyrick’s writing was brilliant and I cannot wait to read her other works. This was simply amazing.
Alyce and Isabel, two sisters reaching womanhood in the late 1500's. The two have always in a way tried to out do the other, and Alyce always was one to not abide by the seen but not be heard unspoken rule expected of women. Isabel seems to have it all, a husband and a child on the way. Alyce however could care less about marriage and children, from what she has seen she doesn't know if she ever wants to be ruled over by a male.
Alyce's father is done with her nonsense, and decides she needs to marry. Albeit Alyce pushed back, they come to an agreement that Alyce will have the final say. To her fear, she thinks that she will be wed to her father's longtime journeyman, Robin. A man she has always spited and one who has shown that he will take whatever he wants. But another unexpected suitor is thrown into the hat. A decision is made and Alyce is to marry.
Thomas Granville has quite the reputation for being a privateer and womanizer, however Alyce is bound to try and give it a shot. What does she have to lose at this point, she was already forced to marry. The two are cautious around the other not sure the intent, but still wanting to be honorable and make things work.
Alyce often struggle with Thomas being gone due to his privateering, and it is decided that she will take a visit back at her old hometown. It has been some time since she has seen her family. As always were, Isabel is fighting to prove she is better and has everything better than Alyce when she comes upon Alyce and her own husband.
What Alyce thought she had gotten away from when she married Thomas, comes crashing back. She is being accused of being a witch and casting a spell causing another supposed death and temptation from another.
Will Thomas fight for her as he had promised in their vows? Will word get to him, and he come to protect her honor? Or will Alyce be hung for her wicked ways, just like her grandmother was decades ago? This was a very good read, as per the title often Alyce got herself in trouble with her own tongue and in those days it was ghastly if women outspoke or seemed to have a mind of their own. It was also very interesting to read about her being accused of a witch and how that all went down and was handled.
Thank you to the author, and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for another great historical read!
It's 1586, Queen Elizabeth I is on the throne with Mary Queen of Scots and the King of Spain nipping at her Royal heels. Alyce Bradley is returning home after being a Lady's maid, turned servant, to a noblewoman where her parents sent her for the last 12 years. In her youth, she had a reputation for being unable to bide her tongue and speak her mind. A thing quite un-womanly or un-Godly even, in those days. And of course, it being the 16th century she is expected to only yearn for marriage and a family, but Alyce isn't like most women. She wants to find a true love and someone that will respect her intellect.
Thomas Granville, known locally as a womanizer, is a privateer and has fought and sailed with Sir Francis Drake. When he hears that Alyce's father is looking for a husband for her he suggests himself. he's intrigued by her and her dowry also helps his new venture. It's a marriage of convenience though both Alyce and Thomas aren't entirely displeased with the situation. It's a slow-burner of a romance but those are the ones I enjoy the best. I'm not an Insta-love kind of reader.
I absolutely adored Alyce! She was clever, sassy, and sweet. I'm not one to hold my tongue either and have gotten into lots of trouble by not keeping my mouth shut so I could relate to her.
In addition to Alyce and Thomas' story, the book touches on the troubled relationship between Alyce and her sister, Isobel, as well as accusations of witchcraft against Alyce.
Meyrick's writing is outstanding. I was hooked from the first page and completely invested in Alyce's life. And Thomas is definitely swoon-worthy! The Bridled Tongue was the perfect book I needed right now to escape these crazy and scary times and I'm so grateful to Catherine for sharing a copy with me. I didn't get a chance to read her other book yet, Forsaking All Other, so I will be picking that up soon. If you're looking for a great historical with romance and a little danger, you should certainly pick this one up!
“Do not look surprised. It is what every woman wants: husband, children, a household of her own.”
Alyce Bradley knew that her father was right, but at twenty-eight years old, Alyce knew her choice for a husband would be few and far between. But she is reassured in the knowledge that she will have the final say on who she chooses to spend the rest of her life with.
Thomas Granville is in search of a wife, one preferably with a large enough dowry to finance his latest venture. He will treat her with kindness and respect as long as she is, in turn, honourable and courteous. Alyce Bradley seems to be the bride that he has been searching for.
But Thomas Granville has a dark and dangerous history. It is one that will come back to haunt him and his new bride. Likewise, there are ghosts from Alyce’s past that will seek to destroy her.
From the beginnings of a great romance to a trial built on nothing more than malicious tongues and evil hearts, The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Meyrick is the hauntingly evocative romantic story of Thomas Granville and Alyce Bradley.
Catherine Meyrick has woven a tale that held me utterly captive from start to finish. The Bridled Tongue is a heart-wrenchingly compelling story of Alyce Bradley as she navigates the joy and wonder of falling in love with her husband — a love that she had never expected to feel — while trying to survive the slanderous and dangerous accusations that state that she is, in fact, a witch. Told with an impressive sweep and brilliance this story has it all — a dashing hero, a strong heroine and a rumour that threatens to destroy everything. What more can you ask for in a book?
With a powerful narrative that saw me reaching for the Kleenex on more than one occasion and a plot that was tense, powerful and utterly mesmerising, The Bridled Tongue has a lot to recommend it. Reading this novel was like stepping back in time. The small and intimate community that Meyrick has created is rife with gossip and rumours. It is a place where women would rather tear someone down and obliterate their good character than build them up. This story was depicted with incredible skill and diligence. This book, besides being a wonderfully tender romance, is also a story of survival in the face of impossible odds and unthinkable cruelty.
I adored the characterisation of Alyce. Alyce comes from the most dysfunctional family, who facade is one of self-importance and success, but in truth, they are falling apart at the seams. Jealousy is rife, and Alyce with her strong personality and moral sense of what is right and what is wrong doesn’t fit in at all. Although we never meet Alyce’s grandmother, we get the sense that this is who Alyce takes after. Alyce is a very caring woman who wants to help her sister and her family, and when she marries, her husband’s sister and tenants. She is an exceptionally gentle soul which makes what happens to her so incredibly vile. Alyce really drives this story forward, and at times her tale is difficult to read, but it is also gratifying. Her struggles become her strengths, and unlike her sister, Alyce does not give way to bitterness and anger.
Thomas Granville is a somewhat dashing hero who has sailed with Sir Francis Drake and fought the Spanish. He is an ambitious privateer, but as is the way with successful men, there are those that resent and hate him because of his achievements and because of some terribly tragic misunderstanding. Thomas’ past threatens to destroy his future with Alyce, which made this story not just a romantic one, but a thoroughly entertaining one as well. I enjoyed reading about Thomas very much. He is the perfect hero for our brave heroine.
Isabel Sutton, Alyce’s sister, is a genuinely awful person. She is spiteful at the beginning of this novel but by the end of it, she is a bitter and cruel woman who choices to blame all of her tragic loss and unhappiness on Alyce. Isabel tears her family cruelly apart, and I don’t think she even understands why. She is quick to anger and even quicker to point a finger. Isabelle is ruled by her emotions, and also, unfortunately, by her mother-in-law and her father-in-law. Isabel’s own desperately unhappy domestic situation only makes things worse. Jealously really drives Isabel’s character, and although at times she did rouse my pity, her subsequent reaction to these tragic events quelled much of the sympathy I had for her. I thought Meyrick’s depiction of Isabel was incredibly successful and more importantly, believable.
A cruel and vicious witch hunt is a topic that is seldom found in historical romance, but Meyrick has approached this story with a keen eye on the history and another on the human condition. The historical authenticity of this book has to be applauded. Meyrick has really outdone herself. She has captured the very essence of Elizabethan England. In the background of this story is the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, and the growing threat from the Spanish, but in the forefront of this story, the fortunes and misfortunes of a mercer’s family are where the magic in the writing happens. Meyrick has a visceral understanding of what makes history worth reading, and she has recreated this world into an immensely readable tale. It is rife with intrigue and superstition, as well as being a remarkable love story.
If you are looking for your next great romance, or in fact, historical fiction read for this book crosses that divide, then look no further than The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Meyrick.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde. The Coffee Pot Book Club.
This story right here is why I have always said I would have probably been tried and burned as a witch if I had lived way back when. But oh my goodness is this book one wile twist after another. Plus it’s also just an amazing love story!
Whenever I think about what it would be like to live in the 1500s I always immediately think that I would not do well. So when reading about Alyce I really felt a sense of kinship with her. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with a woman who has a wicked tongue! But, Alyce is a survivor, so this is not just a tale of the wrongs people do to others. I really loved reading about Alyce because I really loved her character. She was just a good soul surrounded by numerous bleak ones.
The writing in this book was so good! I was immediately hooked and drawn into the story. Plus we were given such a dashing hero character in Thomas. But then again I’m a sucker for period romances where the characters weren’t looking for love but *may have* found in in one another.
You can view my full review & giveaway on my blog! I also post a wide range of reviews on my blog!
This novel is about the life of an English merchant class woman called Alyce Bradley between August 1586 and December 1589. It mentions the events of the perceived attempt of Mary Queen of Scots to seize the English throne from Elizabeth the First in 1587, the attempted invasion by the Spanish Armada of Philip the Second in the Summer of 1588, and how these events impacted on the lives of ordinary people. The story is based around the geography of Norwich in Norfolk, Ashthorpe in Northamptonshire and London.
The novel discusses contemporary issues such as the dangers of childbirth, arranged marriages, the hypocrisy of marital fidelity between genders, religion, witchcraft, clothing, housing, medicine, domestic arrangements, commerce, law and order, the legal system and corruption.
The book ends with an historical note which gives a description of witchcraft and how it was treated in law around that time. In this note the author also gives an explanation and reasons as to why she developed the book as she did, where she stuck to historical accuracy and the reasons as to why sometimes she let artistic licence take over.
The text is consistent and adequate to carry the plot evenly through to the end, and there is some “page-turning” when the plot gets quite exciting and dangerous. I particularly liked the way the author conjured up in my mind images of dark halls lit by candles, sunshine streaming through lead glass and Elizabethan women in long dresses, lace and silk swooshing down long corridors.
Have you ever read a book, turned the last page and whispered "wow!" under your breath? As my eyes focused once again on my surroundings, I noticed three things:
• Three cups of half-drunk tea • A small mountain of tissues • An empty tissue box.
The Bridled Tongue captivated me. No, it ensnared me in a vice in which I could not break free from. My husband walked into the room, took one look at me in my ugly crying state, and abruptly turned back around muttering under his breath about his hatred of fictional characters—what does he know? The poor bloke only reads Haynes Manuals. He would not know what to do with a fictional character if one walked up to him and hit him!
This novel is about Alyce Bradley, a woman who is born before her time. She is a strong yet incredibly caring character who feels things really deeply. She is an empath with a heart that is overflowing with love. If only she could find the right man. But, alas, she has to marry Thomas Granville—mind you, I don’t think I would have minded overly much if I had to marry Thomas Granville, but knowing my luck his reading interest would have been limited to “how to make a fortune by privateering for dummies” or some such non-fiction. But I am getting off the point. So, Alyce, our heroine, marries Thomas, our hero, and they live happily ever after. Wrong!! And this is where this book differs from other historical romances because there is nothing simple about this courtship, for Thomas has many enemies, and Alyce has the most dysfunctional family ever to walk the earth. A family so dysfunctional that they cannot bear to see Alyce happy.
The vile Isabel Sutton, Alyce’s sister, really ruffled my feathers, I don’t mind admitting to that. Oh, I just cannot put into words how much I loathed that woman. Spiteful, jealous, and darn right dangerous. I don’t think I have ever hated an antagonist as much as I did her. If there are any witches to be found in this book, then the fingers should have been pointing her way because she has a wicked tongue condemning so dreadfully. With my hand on my heart, I can say that I absolutely despised her, which is, I guess, the reaction the author had hoped to achieve from her readers.
Although there is a lovely romantic story within the pages of this novel, this is also a book that really brought to life the era, and it also demonstrated how innocent people, especially women, were condemned by vicious tongue and jealous hearts.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was absolutely brilliant from start to finish and I think it is one that I will certainly come back to—I just need to buy some shares in Kleenex first!
*I received a copy of this book from The Coffee Pot Book Club for review consideraiton.
As a young woman, Alyce Bradley was sent away her parents' house on account of her unbridled tongue. Now that she has returned, is this daughter of a prosperous merchant too old to find a husband? Determined to avoid a union with a lecherous journeyman, she agrees to marry Thomas Granville, a privateer several years older than her who wants a competent, agreeable, and virtuous wife. Alyce finds herself growing attracted to Thomas, but at the same time becomes painfully aware of the previous liaisons Thomas had before marrying her. Is it too much to hope that he will prove faithful now that they are wed?
Business takes Thomas to town, and he brings his new bride with him. The intrigues of London are foreign to Alyce, however, and she soon finds herself irritating and undermining her husband in all manner of ways, simply from an ignorance of who are his friends...and who are his enemies. When the Spanish Armada threatens and Thomas takes ship to fight for queen and country, Alyce eventually returns to visit her parents and finds herself embroiled in a fight of her own. But whereas Thomas will come through his battle unscathed, it is very possible that Alyce will lose her life from the unbridled tongues of others.
Throughout the story, Alyce's circumstances are paralleled with and affected by the circumstances of her younger sister. Isabella, wed to Will Sutton, is a willful woman who yearns to have a child of her own. Her philandering husband is often away from the house, trying to escape her shrewish tongue. When Isabella falls pregnant, she insists that Alyce stay with her and create herbal remedies to ensure that she does not miscarry. Trained in the arts of the still room by her grandmother, Alyce is able to make simple potions that alleviate headache and other small pains.
When Alyce and Thomas are blessed with a daughter and Isabella's own child meets his demise, Isabella is looking for someone to blame. With the connivance of her scapegrace husband and the orchestration of her father-in-law (a longtime enemy of Thomas Granville), Isabella accuses her sister Alyce of witchcraft. Alyce endures weeks of torment in the filthy rooms of the Tudor gaol, constant pressure to confess her "crimes", and the fear that she will be executed before Thomas learns of her predicament.
Catherine Meyrick presents a vivid tale, steeped in the milieu of the Tudor world. The narrative voice, switching often to characters like Isabella Sutton, allows the reader to experience the emotions driving other characters besides the principals. While other authors writing about this time period might be tempted to put the invasion of the Spanish Armada front and center, Meyrick focuses instead on the very human drama of two people unsure of each other's love, separated often by distance and uncertainty, and striving to bear all things, believe all things, hope all things, endure all things. Her handling of the witch trial is the most sensible treatment of this subject that I have ever seen in a historical novel. The members of the courtroom both believe in the reality of the devil and witchcraft but are also prudent enough to understand that accusations must be weighed fairly. Recommended.
I do love books set in the Tudor era. The Bridled Tongue is set during Elizabeth I's reign, but this novel does not focus on any of the key figures of this era, although there are rumbling murmurs of the growing threat from the Spanish. Instead, this novel tells the story of Alyce Bradley and her rather dashing soon-to-be husband, Thomas Granville.
Initially, I thought I was reading a romance book with the traditional plot that historical romances like to follow, but this novel is so much more than a romance. It is a story rich in history and frightening in the sense that a reputation could be destroyed in an instant. Poor Alyce had really lucked out when it came to her family, resulting in the most dreadful of situations. Jealousy tears Alyce's family apart, and the situation soon escalates out of control. I don't want to give any spoilers, but it is enough to say that once started, there was no way I was putting this book down. I think it must have been around 3 in the morning when I finally finished it, but it was more than worth it. This book deserved my attention, and I willingly gave it.
I really enjoyed every minute of this novel, and I will certainly be looking out from more books from this very talented author.
*I received a copy of this book from The Coffee Pot Book Club for review consideration.
Meyrick illustrates a powerful understanding of human nature in this arresting tale of a 16th century woman who is strong-willed but conscientious. Alyce knows her faults and limitations, but when she accepts marriage to a man of means, she's suddenly surrounded by bitter jealousy that winds up placing her very existence in peril. It's ALL about human nature: covetousness, selfishness, bitterness... all of the things that can turn family and friends into enemies.
I was impressed with Meyrick's deep knowledge of Elizabethan life and times. It wasn't forced onto the page, but artfully scripted into prose that was intimate and informative, both in world-building and plot. How she builds tension by letting the reader "suppose" and slowly come to grips with risks and behavior each character displays was stirring. I found myself cheering Alyce on, believing in her, and frantic with despair over the acts of her family members.
This is a powerful book, full of deep joy amid an often tragic and inhumane period, ever displaying the enormous strides women have made since 16th century England kept them as bound as babes in swaddling.
I really enjoyed Alyce and Thomas's story! It is not what I normally read, more historical fiction than historical romance, but I did enjoy watching the love between them grow. Besides their relationship, we see Alyce's relationship with family and friends, all whom play a role in what could destroy Alyce and Thomas's happiness. If you are a fan of historical fiction with a touch of romance, then this is the one for you!
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was mesmerised from start to finish. Alyce Bradley, at twenty-eight, already a spinster without hope of making a great marriage, is such a sympathetic character that it’s hard not to fall in love with her from the first page. She has two potential suitors: Robin Chapman, a mealy-mouthed mercer, and Thomas Granville, a thoroughly red-blooded privateer, charming, and definitely a catch. Although Alyce is famed for her quick tongue: “as sharp as it ever was”, according to her disapproving father, we gradually see that it was because it was far more difficult in those times for a woman to voice her opinion. Anne Boleyn was sharply rebuked by her new husband, Henry Tudor, and, in general, women learnt to hold their tongues. Catherine Meyrick has created a novel very much of its Tudor time so much so that you can easily imagine yourself back in a parlour, or on the street. As a big Tudor fan, I relished all the description. The characters are all very well drawn, even the minor ones. The villains are extremely nasty, and they keep on appearing in poor Alyce’s life. Even her own sister, Isabel, takes sibling rivalry to a new level. For me, Meyrick brilliantly highlighted the difficulty of being a woman alive in the sixteenth century, as well as how easily a charge of witchcraft could be brought against you. In everyday life, look at your neighbour the wrong way, make them envious, and you could find yourself hauled before a court, your very life at stake. It was a fast-paced novel, gathering speed in the final quarter and, to Meyrick’s absolute credit, I had no idea which way it was going to end. There’s only one way to find out….
This is the second book by Catherine Meyrick I've read and I was as impressed with this one as I was with the first one.
Reading her books is like time travelling. She recreates the everyday life of the time so easily. I liked the story and the variety of characters. I loved that the heroine was a strong woman. I also appreciate reading about the time period (late Tudor) dealing with common people instead of having a royal cast.
My only issue is that I found the start a bit slow compared to the end where the pace was so fast. It was interesting to go through the world and character building though, so I wouldn't hold the slow start against the book. It was definitely not boring. The end kept me turning the pages as I got so engrossed in it.
I'm looking forward to Ms Meyrick's next novel!
Disclaimer - I was sent a copy of the ebook by the author for review as I had read and reviewed her previous book.
A thoroughly unlike able, thick witted, and weak heroine...dependent on salvation by her dashing husband to dig herself out of one idiotic hole or another. Poor and superficial historical elements don’t save this insipid quasi-romance. Slow paced. Predictable. And filled with an entire cast of truly unlikeable characters. No one has any depth of character, all are described as the cardboard archetypes of various historical romance “dramatic personae”. Just bad. And boring too.
As a punishment for her behaviour, sixteen year old Alyce Bradley was banished from her home and sent to live with Lady Faulconer, the head of a strict, noble household. Twelve years later, when Lady Faulconer dies, Alyce is unceremoniously sent home to the family she has not seen in all that time and is unsure of the welcome she will receive. While they are happy to see her, her return is problematic and certain aspects of her past behaviour will never be forgotten: her outspokenness and the strong bond she shared with her grandmother, a suspected witch.
Alyce is sensible enough to know that at the age of twenty eight, denied a place in her father's business because she is a female, she cannot remain at home for ever. Her only option is to seek a position in a respectable household as a companion, but Alyce's father, a successful mercer, decides she needs to be married and offers a dowry large enough to tempt the right sort of person.
Thomas Granville, a privateer, has returned to England to seek investors for a new business venture. He remembers meeting Alyce as a young girl, but on a more recent visit to her father's shop, he sees the woman she has become. When he learns that Hugh Bradly is seeking a husband for Alyce with a substantial dowry as enticement, his interest is aroused further and an offer of marriage ensues. Although she is aware of the rumours that Thomas is a pirate and a womaniser, and that the dowry influenced his decision, she accepts his offer.
This is a beautifully written romance: a marriage of convenience between two endearing characters who show kindness and respect to each other from the start. As the story progresses, the subtle changes in the relationship between Alyce and Thomas, and how Alyce's confidence in herself is restored, is heartwarming. That is, until she is the subject of gossip, innuendo and superstition. When her life is threatened by a charge of witchcraft brought against her, Alyce seeks support from those closest to her, but once again is abandoned and betrayed in her hour of need.
Alyce is an easy character to love, primarly because of the treatment she was subjected to by her parents. Her resentment and the feeling that she is not valued in her own right is understandable. Over the years of her exile, Alice learnt to suppress her feelings, dress and behave in a manner designed not to draw attention to herself and so finds it hard to readjust to life back within the family. Her mother and sister believe she is being difficult and that she hasn't changed, particularly when Alyce voices her opinions.
In Thomas, Alyce has found a true champion. He acknowledges Alyce's intelligence and spirit. He is also very astute when it comes to her family. Thomas rose in my estimation each time he defended Alyce from them, especially from her selfish and vindictive sister, Isabel, who married into the equally obnoxious Sutton family. He is also aware that Alyce's duty to her family is stronger than her own needs and he steps in on a number of occasions to take control.
Alyce and Thomas' romance is played out against a time of unrest in Elizabethan England: the Babington plot to assassinate Elizabeth I is uncovered; Mary, Queen of Scots, is executed and the Spanish are poised for war. It is also an age where superstition is rife and a charge of witchcraft is a convenient way of striking at an enemy or holding someone else responsible for one's misfortunes.
The Bridled Tongue is an outstanding story of revenge, jealousy, malice, greed, love and romance that takes you on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, but leaves you extremely satisfied and smiling by the end. A wonderful read and one I highly recommend.
Thank you HFVBT and the author for a complimentary copy. I voluntarily reviewed this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Meyrick, is an exceptional historical fiction. This brilliantly executed novel is set between August 1586, through December 1589.
Alyce Bradley, a daughter of a mercer of high standing, was banished from her home twelve years ago and sent to live with a noblewoman, Lady Faulconer. Her parents deemed it necessary to squelch any rumors that might be associated with the family. Alyces grandmother died before any charges of witchcraft could be brought against her. ￼Her grandmother friend was hanged as a witch 12 years ago, and this prompted her hastily removal from her family’s home in Norwich Village. This may have saved her life at this time.
Alyce is a sensible woman I completely connected to, and at the age of twenty-eight. Hard working, she hides herself under coif and aprons. Coming to terms with her lot in life, that did not received the good looks her sister has from their mother. She is a realist and has put her childish dreams away. The time spent away during her banishment has curtailed in hopes for a loving marriage or family.
So when she is told that her father is using a substantial dowry to find a husband for her, she only has one request. That she has the ultimate choice in the end.
Thomas Granville, who has just recently returned to England seeking investors for a new business venture. He is a some Wanamaker rakish reputation as privateer and a womanizer. Thomas remembers Alyce as child, but takes notice of her as a woman, when he visits the Mercer’s shop of Hugh Bradly.
Mr Bradly tells Thomas Granville that he is seeking a husband for his daughter Alyce, and she comes with a considerable large dowry. Thomas needs the funds and a companion for his sister, who health is failing.
Isabel Sutton, Alyce’s sister, is a petty girl, who has grown up to be a spiteful, jealous woman. Unhappy within her marriage and domestic situation. Lacking in true empathy towards her sister Alyce. Isabel allows jealousy to consume her, this has created a vicious and cruel temperament.
Alyce and Thomas’s marriage might be one of convenience, but they seem to be well matched. Even before the wedding ceremony there is some delightful romantic sparks. Their relationship grows more deeply as they take up residence together at Thomas estate. This secluded distance is just what the couple needs to strengthen their bonds of matrimony, and a beautiful romance blossoms within the comfort of their marriage.
When the past threatens the couple, and charges of witchcraft are brought against Alyce. She is then shown the true light of the people she seeks support from in her hour of need.
Catherine Meyrick delivers a complex, perfectly thought provoking beautifully written story. I was steadfast and completely absorbed deep within these characters lives. The exceptional prose and narration was phenomenal. An exquisitely written, ponderous look into one woman’s story struggling under the weight and malicious gossip and the accusations of witchcraft. The book’s creatively rich atmospheric details will catapult you to this riveting time period. In depth complex characters, and just the right amount romance adds this exceptional moving story. This is one captivating incredible book that has stayed with me far longer than any other in a long time.
An historical fiction, that captures the effects of malicious gossip, and the spread of superstition￼, in a stunning thought provoking novel.
An exciting and captivating story about Alyce Bradley, a brilliant young woman, ahead of her times. The story is set in Elizabethan England against the backdrop of the execution of Mary Queen of Scots and the adventures of the legendary Sir Francis Drake. Meyrick’s writing is full of accurate, historical details and her beautiful, descriptive prose makes it easy to imagine the market places full of gingerbread, spiced lavender, marigold brocade with stilt walkers performing; their ribbons fluttering.
This is the tale of the outspoken Alyce Bradley, sent away from home because of her close association with her grandmother who was suspected of witchcraft. Alyce returns to marry Thomas Granville – a so-called pirate, who, according to gossip, is only after her dowry. Isabel, Alyce’s spoilt sister, with her insistence that Alyce has the power to aid her in childbirth, sets off a rumour which puts Alyce in a very dangerous situation. This steadily grows worse thanks to the help of Robin Chapman and the dangerous Clifton. Isabel with her steadfast belief that ‘no ill can befall her other than by malice of design’ is a superbly drawn character. She is petty and spiteful, and I loved loathing her. Unfortunately, Granville also has enemies who would also see him ruined. The newly married couple seem to be doing fine until a dreadful incident occurs. From then on, the pace of the story speeds up and I tumbled over the final chapters, desperate to find out what Alyce’s fate would be.
This is a truly terrifying world where the danger of childbirth is all consuming, but the desire for a son and heir is everything – Isabel even worries that if she doesn’t produce a son, her husband may take her beautiful earrings away. England is a place where superstition and rumour can whip the masses into a frenzy and consequently lead someone else to their imprisonment and death. The prison episodes are described in frightening detail as are the trial scenes which had me reeling with the unfairness of the accusations.
I love the snippets of history Meyrick adds to the story; how the new married couple must eat and drink from the same plate and cup; the public rituals of removing the stockings of a new bride on their wedding night. Who would have thought that owning a ‘shawl’ in Elizabethan times was a novelty? This is an epic historical novel laced with action and romance. A great, absorbing read.
THE BRIDLED TONGUE is set in the late 1500's when Alyce returns home from being in service. Her sister, Isabel, has always been in competition with Alyce but now feels as though she has won. After all, she is married - even if there are whispers of his infidelities. Things soon turn around after Alyce is betrothed, and marries, a man of higher standing than her husband. Will Isabel leave the competition behind, or will it turn deadly?
I think you know which way it will go - after all, there would be no story otherwise. What you need to do though is read this one for yourself. Instead of just reading my review which skims along the surface, take the time to delve into the depths of this amazing novel that will keep you turning the pages.
The timeline is historically accurate, with a few fictional additions. The scenes are brilliantly described and will make you feel as though you are there. Sibling rivalry can be harsh indeed, especially when it is encouraged. The circumstances between Alyce and Isabel are incredibly well thought out and explained. It was also easy to see how things could get so out of hand.
One thing I loved was seeing the relationship develop between Alyce and Thomas. From acceptance, to respect, to love. Simply delightful and wonderful to read.
This book is a 5-star review from me. It couldn't be anything else. A fantastic portrayal of the times and absolutely recommended by me.
* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *
This intrigued me from the moment I looked at the cover. Plus I needed a good historical fiction!
The story follows Alyce Bradley. She has always been independent and have a wicked tongue. Now that she is older her father is forcing her to marry but he is letting her have the final word on which suitor. In the end she picks Thomas Granville who is an ambitious privateer. The don't expect more than mutual courtesy and respect but it turns to love. Their happiness and love is threatened when dangers arise.
Awww I adored Alyce. I just wanted her to be happy. I liked Thomas as well, but I was worried about him at first, but he grew on me.
Ooooo Isabel. I felt bad for her, but I wanted to smack her. Blaming Alyce for all your problems is not cool! Ugh. Honestly everyone sucked. They are soooooo petty and want to put the blame on everyone and anyone else. Sure Alyce has had a wicked tongue, but she is a good person. So sad. Bad things happen people!
I was honestly hooked from page one! So good! I finished this in just a couple of sittings.
I was worried near the end though. I didn't know what was going to happen. There was a moment there I had my worries about our characters. The ending bugged me a tiny bit. I can't put my finger on it, but something felt like it was missing. Maybe it was because I wanted more in the epilogue? I felt like it was too short.
Overall, I really enjoyed this! It was really good! Sure, I wanted more from the ending but all-in-all this is one I highly recommend it. I'll give this 4 stars.
A tale of family intrigue set in Elizabethan England that builds to a dramatic crescendo. Alyce returns home after a twelve year absence when her family sent her away as a lady-in-waiting in training due to her close relationship with her grandmother, who was a suspected witch. But life seems to break in Alyce’s direction when privateer and landowner Thomas asks her father for her hand in marriage. But reminders of his bachelor days and his swashbuckling extended absences to sail against the Spanish Armada fuel Alyce’s doubts about Thomas and their marriage. Furthermore, jealousies, misperceptions and suspicions about Alyce’s past fester in her family, putting her new life as the Lady of Ashthorpe in jeopardy. Scenes and settings are developed with well-researched period detail and a sprinkling of period usages that provide a keen sense of late 16th century England. In particular, childbirth is portrayed with both the exultation of hopes for an heir and also the parents’ and entire family’s stark fears of the serious risks to the mother and infant given the limitations of period medicine. Tension builds to a climactic inquisition, and a historical note provides terrific context on the prosecution of witchcraft during the Elizabethan period. Ms. Meyrick has penned another historical novel set in Elizabethan England and a third set in 19th century Western Australia. Check out more of my quick takes on WW fiction and historical fiction at: https://brodiecurtis.com/curtis-takes/
What a delight it is to read a well researched, well written historical fiction novel. Catherine Meyrick brings the past to life with her engaging story of a young woman who has to choose between remaining a spinster or marrying a man she does not know. The plot pulls you into Alyce's story from the start.
The characters are well drawn and spring from the pages. Alyce is not a docile creature and rubs against her family. Unmarried, she understands her options are limited and that time is running out to make a good marriage. Meyrick paints a vivid portrait of a woman in the the 16th century. Thomas, her soon to be husband, wants a wife with a dowry. He hopes only for woman who he can respect and who can run his estate while he is at sea. The couples relationship slowly evolves in a satisfying and realistic manner with plenty of stumbling blocks in their way.
The story is set in Norwich, in County Norfolk, far from the glittering court in London. I like that the focus is not on kings and queens s but rather It's the story of ordinary people, merchants and privateers and minor gentry, living their lives far from court. The author incorporates historical events such as witchcraft trials and the Spanish Armada to add body to the story.
Well written and well edited, the pace zips along making for a satisfying read. I highly recommend this book to lovers of historical fiction.
The Bridled Tongue by Catherine Merick is a beautifully written historical fiction set in 1586-1589. During this time, thousands of women were killed for being accused of being witches. The historical accuracy in which Catherine Merick weaves this story is awesome, and there was very clear research done for this.
The characters are also fantastically written. Alyce Bradley, an opinionated woman and Thomas Granville are matched for marriage. What’s wonderful about this story is seeing their relationship grow. The understand and respect each other, which makes their love feel more realistic.
A wonderful love story weaved in with a heart-wrenching story of a woman accused of being a witch and being put on trial because of gossip. I’d say this story is well worth checking out. Highly recommended.
*I received a free copy of this book from Historical Fiction Book Tours. All opinions are my own and unbiased.*
I was so worried about how Alyce Bradley was going to get out of her predicament. Meyrick really knows how to build the tension and keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next. I worried myself to find out how all the loose ends were going to come together to resolve the conflict in poor Alyce's life.
The Bridled Tongue gives you a wonderful insight into the everyday life of a late 16th century household and workings of a manor house. Her attention to detail concerning the court systems, jails and commerce of the time period are wonderfully described making you feel as if you are experiencing it for yourself.
This was my first exposure to reading books from this author. I do plan on reading more of her wonderfully detailed works.
Set in the late 16th century, the heroine of the story is Alyce Bradley; a rather outspoken young woman for that era. What would be admired in Alyce now certainly wasn’t always admired in her then. Personally, I warmed to her character and found her genuinely likeable. Alyce marries a man called Thomas Granville with whom she forms a mutual relationship of deep respect with despite having a sister, Isobel, who has no true fondness for Alyce at all. Au contraire. I don’t wish to ruin the plot with spoilers, but I will say the book introduces Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth The 1st with all the delicious historical detail intertwined. I utterly relished this book and will definitely be reading more books by Catherine Meyrick. A highly recommended read.
I haven’t read an Elizabethan era story in awhile, and this felt like pulling on a favorite sweater. The heroine, Alyce Bradley, was everything I look for; kind hearted, intellectually curious and dreaming of more than her society allowed young women. But that is only how the story begins and things get more interesting from there. The love story is compelling, and the fight for justice propels the story so forcefully that I stayed up way too late to see what would happen. What I felt was unique to this story compared to others from the same era was the focus away from the aristocracy and politics, and more into the lives of the merchant class. In a small community rumors and misunderstandings threatening lives and livelihoods rings as true today as in 16th century England. Well researched and crafted, Catherine’s work is thoughtful and thoroughly enjoyable, and I highly recommend!
I'm finding I like everything I read by this author. The Bridled Tongue was hard to put down. Alyce Bradley was a young girl whose frank observation of life got her in trouble with her family. As she grew, her honesty led her into bigger trouble. Sent away to learn how a young woman should behave, she returned after the death of the dowager no more cultured or stifled than she was before she left. She was more a maid servant and kept to herself. The historical aspects of this time and place were so well described I could see and feel some of the horrible experiences Alyce went through. Sure to get your blood boiling over the injustice done to poor Alyce, it's a wonder anyone survived those times. A romance and a trial will keep you turning pages.
I thought this book was somewhat interesting, but I have some issues with the heroine, Alyce. First of all, she has way too many guys trying to rape her. Also, after the first near rape she doesn't learn to speak up when a man is making her do something she knows is improper, especially when she could just tell her husband! Maybe she was afraid her husband would say she encouraged the other guy, but after a while of marriage I mean come on! Her husband has man servants set to guard her and she turns them away, brushing off her safety like its nothing... then someone else tries to rape her... and of course she is conveniently without a witness YET AGAIN.