Books I Love

Cover Crispin: The Cross of Lead Avi

Crispin by Avi

A thirteen-year-old boy living in Medieval England believes he has little to lose until he finds himself with even less – no home, no family, or possessions. Accused of a crime he did not commit, he may be killed on sight, by anyone. If he wishes to remain alive, he must flee his tiny village and discover who wants to kill him and why.

Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

A young English outlaw flees his past, fighting as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: fighting and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, he heads home to England, risking capture, but is discovered by the young King of England–Henry V himself–and takes up the longbow again, ending up fighting in one of the most famous battle in English history.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

When an infected bolt of cloth carries plague from London to an isolated village, a housemaid named Anna Frith emerges as an unlikely heroine and healer. Through Anna’s eyes we follow the story of the fateful year of 1666, as she and her fellow villagers confront the spread of disease and superstition.

Cover of The Midwife's Apprentice Karen Cushman

The Midwife’s Apprentice by Karen Cushman

A homeless girl is taken in as an apprentice by a hot-tempered midwife, and eventually, in spite of obstacles and hardships, gains a place in the world.

Revenge of the Rose by Nicole Galland

Poor Willem of Dole and his beautiful, yet defiant sister, Lienor were robbed of their birthrights by a wicked uncle, but the wily and witty Jouglet, a fool in Holy Roman Emperor Konrad’s court, conspires to help Willem gain favor and his titles too. Not only does Willem rise in the court, but soon eyes fall upon Lienor as a prospect for Konrad’s bride. Needless to say, there are many in Konrad’s court who aren’t happy to see these two “unknowns” rise from obscurity and take such powerful positions.

The Fool’s Tale by Nicole Galland

Wales, 1198. A time of treachery, passion, and uncertainty. King Maelgwyn ap Cadwallon, known as Noble, struggles to protect his small kingdom from foes outside and inside his borders. Pressured into a marriage of political convenience, he takes as his bride the young, headstrong Isabel Mortimer, niece of his powerful English nemesis.

The Kingmaker’s Daughter by Philippa Gregory

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right.

Cover The Red Queen Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory

The Red Queen, second to The White Queen in the Cousin’s War Trilogy, follows Edmund Tudor’s devout child-bride and child-widow, Margaret Beaufort.   A barely pubescent Margaret is quickly with child. Somehow, despite her tiny frame and three-day labor, Margaret and her baby, Henry, survive. Margaret deeply believes herself favored by God, that her faith and sufferings shall guarantee her the title of Margaret Regina someday and most importantly, her son the English throne.   By the Grace of God or the combination of wit and will, Margaret sees her wishes fulfilled.  Through plotting, she manages to infiltrate the York house under the guise of friendship, secure a marriage between her son and Dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter, and see her son become King of England.

The Queen’s Fool by Philippa Gregory

The Queen’s fool is the story of Hannah Verde, daughter of a bookseller, refugee of Spain during the Inquisition, and seer of angels and the future.  Hannah is quickly taken on by Sir Robert Dudley who recognizes her gifts and then by Mary Tudor though Hannah travels between her court and that of her traitorous sister Elizabeth.   Hannah is a double agent of sorts, seeing all and reporting what she must during the tumutluous time from Edward’s death to Elizabeth’s coronation.

Cover Death and the Devil Frank Schatzing

Death and the Devil by Frank Schatzing

Death and the Devil begins when the protagonist,  street-smart vagabond Jacob the Fox, accidentally witnesses Morart being pushed to his death from the  great Cologne Cathedral, which he was commissioned to design . Jacob quickly becomes the target of the cold, calculating assassin who was hired to kill Morart in order to keep the murder a secret. As one can imagine, Jacob spends a great deal of the book on the run while trying to uncover who seeks him out and why.

Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Young Joan shows promise as a scholar, but her cruel and traditionalist father fights to keep her from reaching her potential. When a tutor recommends that Joan and her dim brother go to seminary for education, Joan’s dreams come true, but her peers and teachers treat her cruelly and it feels like Joan’s brilliance will never be appreciated. Then Joan meets Gerold, a married man and father who takes her in and shows an interest in Joan’s inquisitive nature. One wonders if a relationship between the two is in the cards, but Joan has higher aspirations. A series of tragic events allows Joan to take her brother’s name and disguise herself as a monk, enabling her to climb the church ranks.

**Book summaries come from Goodreads.com and Obelisk Historical Fiction Review


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