Friday, 26 February 2016

Song at Dawn by Jean Gill

Reviewer: Liza Perrat, author of Spirit of Lost Angels, Wolfsangel and Blood Rose Angel

What we thought: Song at Dawn, first and  FREE book of 'The Troubadours Quartet' is set in 1150 in Provence, France. It is the “troubadour era”, and the period following the Second Crusade, and follows the adventures of the young Estela de Matin.

Fleeing abuse, Estela is found in a ditch by Aliénor of Aquitaine (Queen of France at the time), who, impressed with Estela’s beautiful singing voice and lute skills, welcomes the girl into her court. Aliénor takes Estela to Ermengarde, Viscomtesse of Narbonne’s court, where the girl’s musical talent is nurtured by Dragonetz, the Queen’s best troubadour and Commander of the Guard.

A Crusader with no wish to return to the Holy Land, where he learned about paper, Dragonetz dreams that everyone should have access to paper and thus remove the control of literacy from the Church. His building of a paper mill evokes the Church’s wrath and, through the many plot turns and twists, medieval Narbonne becomes a stage for the cultural, religious and political intrigue of the 12th century.

I was especially interested in the historical aspects of this story, learning a lot about the era –– of Ermengarde and Aliénor, two of the most powerful women in European history. Reading such accurate and memorable stories from the past is one of the reasons I enjoy such well-written historical fiction.

I would recommend this entertaining romance of Estela and Dragonetz, woven into a spell-binding thriller that brilliantly evokes medieval France, to all lovers of historical fiction.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: medieval historical thrillers featuring real-life characters and historical fact.

Avoid if you dislike: Strong female characters and romance.

Ideal accompaniments: “hen in winter” with a parsley, sage, pepper, garlic and mustard sauce. Background Troubadour chansons such as troubador, Jaufre Rudel’s L'amor de lonh.

Genre: Historical Romantic Thriller

Available from Amazon

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