What We’re Reading!

Here's a round up of what the wenches have been reading this month. In the comments, let us know what you've enjoyed. It's a great library builder!

Nicola:

The girl and the sword The Girl and the Sword by Gerald Weaver (UK link) is a historical epic in the true sense of the word. It covers decades and looks a great span of ideas and history. It’s set in the 13th century and tells the story of Pauline de Pamiers who is a young girl from the oppressed Christian sect, the Cathars, and how she refuses to accept subjugation but forms an alliance with one of the most famous crusaders of all, Simon de Montfort. There are big themes in this book – the role of women in medieval society, the establishment of parliamentary democracy, the dominance of religion.

Whilst the character of Pauline is fictitious, Simon de Montfort was, of course, very real and in his author’s note, Gerald Weaver talks about taking an “American” view of a man who has primarily been written about by English historians. It’s fascinating to see the different perspective that he brings to the character and actions of de Montfort, seeing someone who has often been dismissed as an ambitious opportunist as, in fact, a fundamentally good man who was responsible for sowing the seeds of democracy.  Whilst I might not have agreed with his interpretation of some of de Montfort’s actions, I did love the sheer swashbuckling scope of the story. This Simon is a real hero of integrity, courage and action. Pauline is an admirable woman and their relationship is a tender and true love story. My favourite aspect of the book was their dialogue which was funny and clever and very entertaining. So if you are a fan of epic historical novels with feminist heroines and knightly heroes, this could be the book for you.

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What We Are Reading!

Christina here with this month's summary of what the Wenches have been reading — and we have read a lot! As always, it's an eclectic selection and hopefully some great suggestions for everyone, but we appreciate your input so please let us know what you'd like to add. We can never have enough book recommendations!

Murder at the Serpentine BridgePatriciaMURDER AT THE SERPENTINE BRIDGE by Andrea Penrose

Another brilliant historical mystery in the Wrexford and Sloane series … Conducted against the pageantry of the 1814 Peace Celebrations in London, the intrepid earl and his artist countess unwind a treasonous plot involving the plans for a revolving pistol every nation wants to lay hands on. So much for celebrating peace! In the process of investigating the murder of the pistol’s inventor, the pair acquire the inventor’s brilliant nephew, Peregrine, as a companion for their own wards Hawk and Raven. I love the ongoing family sagas that continue despite the murder and mayhem in the world beyond their safe walls. The history is impeccable and one can truly imagine the scheming that probably did take place with so many powerful men in one place. Highly recommended!

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