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A Crowning Mercy (Crowning Mercy, #1)
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A Crowning Mercy

(Crowning Mercy #1)

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  1,536 ratings  ·  93 reviews
A highly entertaining, wonderfully colourful story, now revealed to be written by one of our favourite historical novelists. In mid seventeenth-century England, the nation was in upheaval. In the Dorset countryside, one sunlit afternoon, a young girl - illicitly bathing in a stream - first fell in love with a passing stranger. Her parents called her Dorcas, but he called ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published November 24th 2003 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1983)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  1,536 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
A beautiful young woman is bathing nude in a stream (against the rules of her dour and punitive Puritan father) , when a strange cavalier, Toby Lazender comes across her and gives her a new name, deciding that Dorcas Slythe is too ugly for her loveliness and names her Campion.Instantly they become lovers

Dorcas is beaten and tortured by her father, her psychopathic brother Ebenezer and their housekeeper the cruel Goodwife.
she is forcibly betrothed to a man she despises. Heres where the plot
I’ve been looking forward to this book for some time. I love Bernard Cornwell. I think he writes excellent historical fiction, intriguing male characters, and exciting action. One of his weakness though is his female characters are usually not very well rounded. Consequently, I figured with his wife writing with him that would change. I also wanted to see Bernard write a love scene and a romance. They’re so short in his other books. So I sat down to read this with excited anticipation.

Did this
Apr 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is an exciting story, as Dorcas, aka Campion, races to achieve the quota of jewelled seals that will allow her to claim her vast inheritance, against the machinations of various slimeballs who also want the fortune and the vicissitudes of the Civil War; and to be reunited with her true love, of course.

BUT ... quite honestly, I can see bits where Bernard Cornwell's writing shows through, especially near the end when the bizarrely named Vavasour Devorax is speaking; but it shows all the signs
Dec 17, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Historical Fiction fans
I picked this up at a going out of business sale as soon as I saw Bernard Cornwell's name. Little did I know that the co-author was his wife and the book was actually published in 1983. I also had no idea that this story would be as much or more historical romance rather than straight historical fiction.

All of that notwithstanding, after I started it and got through the first hundred pages or so the plot picked up and not without some serious foot dragging, I was able to finish it. While reading
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was ok
I was a little disappointed by this book, especially with the fairly predictable stereotyping of the people on the Parliament side. I grant that the English Civil War is not an easy subject for the modern novelist not least because of the attitudes of the time that often seem extreme and bigoted to us. However extremism and bigotry was not confined to one side of the conflict.

I also found the plot a bit contrived and artificial, and the heroine, despite being abused and tortured by the eeeevil
Deborah Pickstone
Can't believe this was written by Cornwell....had to go read another of his (Harlequin)to reassure myself that the Warlord series wasn't just a one-off!

The plot was unbelievable, the writing style gauche at best and stereotyping abounded. The characters, therefore, were implausible and I certainly couldn't care less what happened to them. The book is readable but I almost didn't bother to finish it. I see there is a sequel - I won't bother reading it!

I give it a resounding Barely Adequate as a
Jun 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historic-fiction
Well, for most of this book, I was going to give it a 3 star rating - but the last few chapters were absolutely amazing, and it is has lifted it up my ratings!

The story centres around Dorcas, a young girl, brought up as a Puritan around the time of the English Civil Wars. When her father dies, she learns of a mysterious covenant and, not wanting to marry the person picked out for her, she flees to London to learn more. Betrayed, befriended, almost burned at the stake, it's a rollercoaster ride
Jan 19, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned - predictable. In its defence, it is well written (grammatically) as you'd expect but it doesn't surprise or delight and life is too short to read bad books, even by decent authors
Jan 26, 2009 rated it liked it
I read this when it was relatively new, and had no idea that the author was Bernard Cornwell (it has since been revealed that he co-wrote this trilogy with his wife). I like books about the English Civil War but seem to recall several graphic torture scenes endured by the heroine, which I found distasteful (although perhaps inevitable once she became a spy).
Breakaway Reviewers
Dec 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Torture in the name of religion? Absolutely, in the 17th century.

I’m a fan of Bernard Cornwell. This book, written in 1983, is just as readable today.

It is England in 1643. A young girl, Dorcas Slythe, very daringly goes for a swim at an isolated spot near her home. Daring because her father is a strict Puritan and she knows she will be beaten if caught. Sure that she is alone, she strips then enters the water. Suddenly she hears a movement. She panics, scrambles out of the water and quickly
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
A novel written when England was tearing itself apart in bloody civil war all in the name of religion, a fascinating period which makes you realise humanity never learns from its mistakes.
The characters are stock. In 'A Crowning Mercy', if the characters are good, they are very, very good-and beautiful. If they're bad, they're very, very bad. Oh, and probably fat or deformed, too. Dorcas, our heroine, definitely belongs to the former camp. Her erstwhile brother, Ebeneezer, or the arch villain,
Gerald Matzke
Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story has all of the elements that make Bernard Cornwell’s novels so interesting, history, deception, strong characters, and vivid descriptions. In this book though the main character is female. Her experiences take her from the virtual slavery of Puritan adolescence to the possibility of becoming one of the wealthiest people in Europe. Her lowest point came as a prisoner in the Tower of London awaiting execution. I look forward to reading the sequel, The Fallen Angels.
3.5* I liked the depiction of Civil War England fairly well, especially the witch trial. I didn't like the shallow characters (good = beautiful! ugly = bad!) and how one-sided the conflict was made. The quest for the seals seemed faintly ridiculous and the insistence on the fanciful names was annoying. But not too bad overall, and it did keep me reading.
donald parker
Oct 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't miss this one.

This is the book of the year. One of the best reads have had for years.once you start its a job to put down Find a comfy chair and get on with it ,you won't regret it..

Jackie Thomas
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
good, as usual for Cornwell
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bernard grips

Couldn't put this book down , such a good read with BC twists and turns , Excellent read , secrets
Paul Naybour
Jul 31, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Not the usual standard

A bit weak story with a implausible plot line, finished it but almost gave up several times. Not recommended reading.
andrew knight
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A crowning mercy

A crowning mercy is a good freak wìth a great twisting ending that was seen in the final chapters if you read between the lines
Lynn Baker
Feb 05, 2019 rated it liked it
A bit slow to get going but a good story nonetheless
R Webb
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Another Excellent Cornwell Story

Bernard Co well has done again with another series of books about another family. I wait impatiently for the second book in the series.
Caroline Marie
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well written, though I'm sure the protagonist will be in need of psychological therapy after such a rollercoaster of an adventure!
Edmund Marlowe
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It is 1643, early on in the English Civil War. A puritan maiden with a name, Dorcas Slythe, as unsuited to her beauty and good nature as it is suited to her grim upbringing, is taking a forbidden naked dip in the river. There she accidentally encounters love in the form of Toby Lazender, a charming young royalist who renames her Campion and ignites in her a spirited determination to shape her destiny in spirit with her new name and love despite the machinations of her obnoxious family. The drama ...more
Alasandra Alawine
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Dorcas Slythe is constantly humiliated and mistreated at the hands of her Puritan family and their servants. Then she meets Toby Lazender while bathing in a nearby stream and begins to dream of a life filled with love and beauty.

Forced to marry Samuel Scammell she despairs but her "Father's death" reveals a secret and a fortune. When Dorcas finds the Seal of St Matthew she takes the name of Campion and flees from her home. Hoping to find out more about the mysterious Covenant she seeks out Sir
Jul 23, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
c1983. This was a present and although a fairly recent addition to my library, it did seem to hark back to a style of writing that was popular a couple of decades agao. Only then did I realise that this was actually first published in 1983. Synopsis courtesy of Amazon "In mid seventeenth-century England, the nation was in upheaval. In the Dorset countryside, one sunlit afternoon, a young girl -- illicitly bathing in a stream -- first fell in love with a passing stranger. Her parents called her ...more
Phil Syphe
Nov 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set during the 1640s when King Charles I of England was at war with his own people, this story follows the up and downs of a beautiful woman with an ugly name: Dorcas Slythe. Not surprisingly, when she meets her dream man, who adores her but hates her name, she readily agrees to being called Campion after a beautiful flower.

Campion is raised as a Puritan. Her unloving father beats her with his belt whenever she does anything he considers as sinful. Yet he’s hiding something from her; something
Jul 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Updated July 20, 2014

This is one of those books that, the more I have had a chance to think about it, the more I like it. Campion is actually the least important character. She is mostly a place filler. She did develop a personality (not as the book progressed, she had one throughout, but as the author developed the story in the writing stages) but her most important characteristics were that, she was the daughter of Kit and the adopted daughter of Matthew. She was a person in the middle of
C.S. Einfeld
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is the first book by Bernard Cornwell that I've had the pleasure to read. And, pleasure it was. :o)

It's true, there are no great surprises and the story follows the familiar historical romance trope of downtrodden heroine who is really much more than at first she appears and who, in the end, is rescued by that tantalizing combination of love and a secret, noble past.

Dorcas Slythe thinks she's the daughter of an epically nasty Puritan father at the start of the Protestant Revolution. Of
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Dorcas is a Puritan girl being raised by an overly strict abusive father. Her father insists she works so one hot day she is gathering reeds. Dorcas has a secret she swims when she alone and in the nude. This day Toby happens to be nearby. The talk and this is he beginning they fall in love. Unknown to them Dorcas' brother the nasty Ebenezer has seen them and of course he reports to their father. She is beaten with his belt. Toby has called her Campion after the flowers she has picked. Dear old ...more
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
According to the blurb in the front of the book, Bernard collaborated on this book with his wife, Judy Cornwell under the name Susannah Kells. What resulted is a book that has all of Bernard's customary attention to historical detail, primarily told from the perspective of a much younger and idealistic viewpoint than his typical protagonists- a girl named Dorcas (Campion) Sythe. While the general romantic template is present (i.e. girl falls in love, girl thinks love is impossible, girl fights ...more
Colleen Waltner
Nov 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My new favorite author was introduced to me by BBC History Magazine Podcast. While listening I downloaded one of Bernard Corwell's books to my iPod. I was totally impressed. My genre of choice is historical fiction but this book took it to an entirely new level. I have had other books grab me at the first chapter and hold me the entire way through; this one toyed with my mind and imagination. The end of the story is at the last page which I appreciated if you know what I mean.

The downside of
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his birth mother's maiden ...more

Other books in the series

Crowning Mercy (3 books)
  • Fallen Angels (Crowning Mercy, #2)
  • The Aristocrats (Crowning Mercy, #3)