Skip to main content

Review: The Falcons of Montabard, by Elizabeth Chadwick


Pages: 473

Original date of publication: 2003

My edition: 2008 (Sphere)

Why I decided to read: I needed a good comfort read

How I acquired my copy: Amazon UK, May 2009

After reading the harrowing Wish Her Safe at Home, I needed a book that was going to be comfort reading, and so I turned to a sure thing: Elizabeth Chadwick’s The Falcons of Montabard, a book that’s been sitting on my bookshelves for ages but was waiting for the right time to be read.

The story opens on November 25, 1120, the eve of the sinking of the White Ship. Sabin Fitzsimon is a young knight who, having seduced one of the mistresses of the king and murdered a man, is put into the service of Edmund Strongfist. Strongfist takes his entourage to the Holy Land, taking with him his daughter, Annais. Sabin is strongly sttracted to Annais, but he has promised his employer, and himself, that he’ll stay away from her. True to form, however, they keep being thrown together, and the result is almost predictable. But getting to that end result is the fun of the novel, for there are many twists and turns before Sabin and Annais can be united.

Whenever I read one of Elizabeth Chadwick’s novels, I always wonder, “how does she do that?” over and over again. The period details of her books are always exquisite, and she truly gets the reader to know her characters intimately. There is wonderful character development in this novel, too. I never get the sense that these are modern people dressed in 12th century clothing, and I always wonder how Elizabeth Chadwick gets to know her period so well—maybe it’s an innate thing by this point? I wish that all authors of historical fiction could write like this!

Comments

Marg said…
It must be nearly time for me to read another Chadwick. It's been a while for me, but I know that when I do get to it, I will love it in just the same way you have expressed here.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

January:
1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

February:
1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

March:
1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy: Amazon.com, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…