Scot's Reviews > A Play of Piety

A Play of Piety by Margaret Frazer
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's review
Mar 29, 2012

really liked it
Read from March 29 to April 23, 2012

Sixth in the series. These books by Frazer are entertaining in the skillful way they flush out fascinating cultural and social practices of people in 15th century England based on thorough reserach, using the experiences and interactions of Joliffe and his acting troupe to advance the plot lines, and on a larger level from book to book, the range of possible settings and situations for the series. This one takes place in the hospital of St. Giles in 1436. Basset, the leader of the troupe, is abed with a severe case of arthritis, as Joliffe, returning from his adventures in Paris, rejoins the group. (The other two adult male actors, Ellis and Gil, and Piers the boy are all helping with the harvest, Rose is cooking in the hospital kitchen, and their wagon-pulling horse Thisbe is munching grass in a nearby meadow.)

The daily routine and medical practices at the hospital described here offer a more sensible and salutary approach to maintaining or restoring health than I had expected, while one of the villians in this piece, the mammoth Mistress Thorncoffyn, leaves a distinctive impression not soon forgotten.

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