Fascinating story – Black Death hits village north of York in 1349, when half Europe has already died, told through present tense pov of a fourteen year old girl.
I read this pretty well at one sitting, so it was thoroughly gripping and has fascinating subject matter.
Picky picky me:
Typos – surprising number of;
Voice slightly too contemporary – though that’s not quite fair, as I really don’t want to be reading Chaucerian English, and where do you draw the line?
The plot development when they went to York with merchant Thomas – this was oddly tacked-on and didn’t really fit with anything that had happened up till then. What the hell was Thomas even doing in their village?
The book describes changes the Black Death left in its aftermath – more land available, labour could command better rates, women were doing jobs previously the preserve of men – but Isabel the hardworking farmer, with a source of wealth in Thomas’s valuables, apparently simply hands them over to her main chance brother Richard and goes to work for him for free. Wot a let down – what happened to her potential, to doing her own thing?
BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY
The story was breathtaking, gripping in a horrible yet relentless and unputdownable way for maybe the first 75%. And Isabel is a great character. And the writing style (despite modernistic whinge) is fluid, concise and highly engaging. Overall, a fascinating, well-written and powerful read.
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