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The Sunday Salon – June 15, 2008

I missed last week because I was at the wedding of one of my closest friends, which was beautiful, but didn’t give me much time to read! This weekend has not been much quieter, what with today being Father’s Day, but I made my effort during the week, finishing off John Adams, The White Mary, and The Firemaster’s Mistress, the last of which has no review yet because I am still working on it. I liked it a surprising amount for a book that I purchased for £1. Reminds me that I should read all those books sitting on my TBR pile from that discount bookstore, which I hear has now sadly closed.

Today I am reading A Bloody Field by Shrewsbury by Edith Pargeter.  I am not too far in yet, but it’s interesting so far and not quite what I’d expected.  I’ve never read anything by this author before (her more common pseudonym is Ellis Peters), so I’ve been looking forward to it.  As ever, it is a LT recommendation, so I’m sure it will be excellent in the end.  The prose feels a little stilted, but I’m really happy with the characterizations, so I’ll see how it goes and if I can “sink in” a bit more into it as time goes by!  It so far heavily involves the Percy family, which I have done a lot of research on, and I’m always happy to see my favorite historical characters portrayed in fiction.  You never quite know what an author is going to get up to with them.  I’ve toyed with the idea of putting them in my own stories, but since I haven’t written one in years, that is an idea which is going nowhere.  I’ll just read instead!

This week, I’m looking forward to reading The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly or Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, or maybe both!  It’s going to be a rough week, so I think I’m going to need one of those long, historical, romantic sagas to escape.   I also picked up Nefertiti by Michelle Moran, which I’ve been anxiously awaiting in paperback, so I’m sure I’ll be reading that soon as well.

Happy Sunday (and Father’s Day) everyone!

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3 comments to The Sunday Salon – June 15, 2008

  • I think the writing of Edith Pargeter comes over as a bit dated these days, but I love the Brother Cadfael series. What is it, do you think about this period of English history, that makes it such a popular environment for historicals? Just recently I finished listening to Richard E. Grant reading Ken Follett’s WORLD WITHOUT END (http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2008/04/world-without-end-ken-follett.html)
    The other book set around this period was one of a series by Australian writer Felicity Pulman called WILLOWS FOR WEEPING (review at http://paradise-mysteries.blogspot.com/2008/06/willows-for-weeping-felicity-pulman.html)

  • Meghan

    It does feel a bit dated but also suits the time period she’s writing about – requires more attention, I’d say, than a recent work. I think that the high/late medieval period is so interesting because it’s a period of transition from what some think of as a dark and savage world (I disagree) to that of our own. It’s different, but people are still similar – that would be my guess!

    Besides that, many of them are focused on royalty or various lords, who really were just the celebrities of the day, and we’re still fixated on those types of people as a culture, so in that respect, it isn’t as surprising. I always like to read the books on ordinary people, though, because interpretations of them are so interesting.

  • Thanks for mentioning my Janna Mystery series, Kerrie! I thought I’d reply to this post because yes, my Janna Mysteries were influenced by the marvellous Cadfael series by Ellis Peters (although Janna supports the empress rather than the king.) This is a wonderful period to set a series in because it was so bloody, turbulent and treacherous. Everyone kept changing sides: Janna was never quite sure whom she could trust on her journey to find her unknown father and her quest to bring her mother’s killer to justice. I gave her the gift and knowledge of healing (like Cadfael)because she needed some skill to help her cross the very rigid class structure of those times. Like Cadfael, she encounters many different crimes and mysteries along her journey to the truth, but that’s as far as it goes. Especially in so far as Janna is looking for love and romance – a no-no so far as Cadfael is concerned! In fact, the basis of my series is very different from the Cadfael series. It’s the story of a young woman finding out about the world, and about herself, and it’s aimed at teenage readers (although I get heaps of emails from adults telling me how much they’re enjoying the series.) The language, style and sentiments are more contemporary than Peters’ novels, even though the books are set in medieval time. I thought you might like to hear some comments from the author, and I hope this is of interest to your readers. Cheers, felicity pulman