Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Song at Dawn by Jean Gill

Reviewer: JJ Marsh

What we thought:

An unusual blend of thrills and insight, this is historical fiction at its most complex, rich and absorbing. I read this book in two sittings and am already well into Bladesong, the second in the Troubador series.

The story takes place in 12th century France, following Estela, an abused woman with a voice and a passion. Her misfortune lands her in a ditch, but her talents lead her to the Queen’s court where she encounters Dragonetz, the Troubadour.

The book transports you to France in the Middle Ages, which should feel far distant to a modern reader, but the social upheavals caused by religious and geographical muscling for power feel unpleasantly familiar. This is well-researched, beautifully written storytelling which deserves full concentration.

Detailed descriptions are in abundance, both of the beautiful and the bloody. Some scenes are not for the squeamish. Characters are layered and complex, even minor players and I was particularly drawn to the role animals play in the story. The complicated politicking is intriguing as is the status of women, from queen to entertainer.

For a glimpse of the past in sharp focus, Song at Dawn is highly recommended.

You’ll enjoy this if you liked: The Overlord series by JD Smith, Michelle Moran's historical fiction or Blood Rose Angel, by Liza Perrat.

Avoid if you don’t like: Some gory moments, emotional upheaval, addictive series.

Ideal accompaniments: Bitter black tea and roasted goose eaten off the blade of a dagger.

Genre: Historical Fiction

Available on Amazon

1 comment:

  1. I love Jean Gill's historical fiction! She's a wonderful spinner of tales.....