Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The King's Corrodian ~ Love Gil Cunningham

Pat McIntosh is a huge favorite of mine and I got this as a birthday book..sigh..I had too many reviews for new book later I ever so happily finished last night! Love Gil Cunningham so much and this era..Shortly after this period my own Cunninghams moved into Ireland as overseers.My Cunningham cousins are in Tipperary by 1700.

It was possibly the best of the series, but then I think I always say that! Medieval is my favorite period and Scotland and Ireland the very tops! I love the parts written in Scots and Gaelic and have not a bit of trouble with them, of course.

Gil Cunningham and Alys and their immediate entourage travel from Glasgow to Perth to his kinsman's Dominican priory. A man named Pollock, a Corrodian whose living, called a corrody was paid by the King for unclear reasons has vanished. Not just vanished of course, but evaporated out of a locked and sealed room in a huge puff of fire and black smoke. The Devil apparently!

Gil as Quaestor or criminal investigator for Archbishop Blacador in Glasgow is summoned to the Blackfriars Priory to try to make some sense of it. An enlightened and educated couple Gil and Alys are not buying into the "De'il" story but need to tread carefully with religious beliefs of the times.

My very favorite part was Mistress Buttergask's "voices", which were actually explained as her having "The Sight" and she was able to assure Alys of her childbearing possibilities. Mystery was laid upon mystery and it was so very delightful! A must for historical mystery lovers as well as Medieval fans.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baynard's List and Stephen Attebrook

Ludlow England in 1262 was so intriguing, that I had to read this one. My Faunt (Lenfant) is first found in England in this time period in the employ of the Plantagenet kings. I was not disappointed, as the period detail and history was very well done. Stephen Attebrook and some of his associates are a bit more modern than might be expected for that time, but it is a fiction after all.

Attebrook is the Deputy Coroner for Ludlow, and is connected as such, to the Crown. The duties he was responsibility for were accurate, although I thought he might have enjoyed a bit higher status than was apparent. He and his friends and associates seemed to be in danger much of the time, which of course added to the mystery that unfolded.

I am glad that I happened upon this book and plan to try others in the series. Jason Vail knows his period detail and weaves it into a complicated tale. Recommended to those who love mysteries as well as historical fiction.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A Visit to 16th Century Ireland ~ Cross of Venegeance

Sixteenth  century Ireland is such a marvelous place for a mystery novel and the Burren's stark,rocky setting merely enhances the tale. Cora Harrison's evocative style of writing transports the reader to this unique time and place.

Mara,the Brehon of the Burren,is a vivid character,who has sophisticated skills described in this excerpt of Brehon Law "judge of three languages and competent in traditional and canon law" He/she may administer laws in the name of its king." She additionally is married to the King Turlough and respected and admired by all.

In 1519 Irish law and the overarching English laws were dramatically different and in a collision course. In each of these ten books the author is able to illustrate those differences both legally and culturally in an impressive fashion. These times were important and cultural remnants exist to this day. Harrison has a masterful grasp of the particular history in which she sets her mysteries.

This particular mystery had me reading feverishly to see learn the outcome and who actually did which deed. The very well developed plot surely twisted and turned until the very end.

Please, please tell me there will be more tales of the Burren! Very soon!

Received from NetGalley for an honest review. Very soon to be released so order now!


Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Presents from Cwrtnewydd Scribblers

My Christmas gift from Judith Arnopp's writing group is a very fine endeavor. It is not your usual warm, fuzzy and frothy holiday bauble but rather serious writing about deeper issues. It cannot fail to please. "A collection of short stories and poems from the Cwrtnewydd Scribblers to celebrate Christmas" was shared with me and I thank them all!

Teapots and Tiaras is available, just today I think, for free. I snatched it up and devoured it last night. The Cwrtnewydd Scribblers consists of Judith Arnopp, Brenda Old,Sue Moules,Margaret Williams, Iris Lee , Alicia Painter, Mary Middleton and Rachael Thomas. Have I missed anyone? They have been meeting together for more than ten years and Judith Arnopp has been with them for part of that time.

"Teapots" also features winners of a short story contest Helen Spring, Lesley Chapman and Kathy Miles which the Scribblers host each year. Delightful anthology! Grab this one!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

"Convalescence" is a superb entry into historical Leeds

This short story will lead you from "At the Dying of the Light" to "Fair and Tender Ladies. I gulped it down and loved it and of course went on to read both. Chris Nickson knows his time and place and delivers every time out. The characters have depth and warmth and the story lines are gritty. That was the nature of  the 1730s in Leeds and those that lived in that bygone time.

Recommending the entire series to mystery and historical fictions lovers. Treat yourself to a great reading experience.


Castles, Customs, and Kings: True Tales by English Historical Fiction Authors

Two weeks ago I said this "
It is so very difficult to tear myself away and to finish the books I have dates to review...Judith Arnopp, Carol McGrath, Paula Lofting, Sherry Jones, Nancy Bilyeau, Anne O'Brien, Debra Brown, Tim Vicary...Oh My!
The new favorite authors that I am finding.. Give me strength to put it down .."

So of course you see that I did not have the strength to put it down. Every night I had to read some more before getting to my "required reading" and now, somewhat regretfully, it has ended.

I am so happy this was offered to me for a review by Debra Brown, a fine Editor! Did I tell you that many of these are favorite authors for me? That I anticipate their books coming out ? Did I mention already that there are many more authors that I am now following because I had the opportunity to read this one?

Katherine Ashe ends the book delightfully with 800 years of Christmas in England and juxtaposes ancient customs with newer ones. I learned how we built on ancient customs to arrive at how we celebrate today. What things did the Protestant Reformation change for "propriety's sake" and which  bits were retained from the ancient Roman Lupercalia? Yes they are all here.

Well it is Christmas now, get out there and purchase this book for yourself. It will offer you countless hours of delightful reading.

Medieval is my biggest passion, both early and late but if you are a lover of Tudor, Regenecy and Victorian it is all here for you! I am off now to find the latest by Brian Wainwright and Christy English  and to look for Roseanne Lortz and Richard Denning. Rereading will also happen from time to time , I am sure of it. Recommended for lovers  of every period of British History and those who appreciate scholarly details in their reading.

Please follow these and other great writers on English Historical Fiction Authors @ englishhistoryauthors.blogspot.com as I do..