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This is the first book in a medieval mystery series and it is set in a religious foundation in Suffolk which has both monks and nuns. A new Prioress has just been appointed following the death of the previous Prioress. The body of a monk is found in the nuns' enclosure with horrific injuries and Prioress Eleanor feels her first job must be to find out who killed him. But Eleanor has to convince the monks and nuns in her charge that she isn't too young to rule them and battle her own inappropriate feelings for the new young monk, Brother Thomas.

I found this an interesting read with a complex plot. I thought the characters were well drawn and their motivations convincing and I liked the way they interacted. The only thing I didn't like were the Americanisms which seemed out of place - words such as `gotten'. I'm not convinced that `for cert' is actually a medieval expression though I stand to be corrected on that point. But these are minor issues and I found the book held my attention and I have already downloaded the second book in the series.

If you like historical mysteries then try this interesting series. If you enjoy Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma series you may enjoy this series though they are a lighter and easier read than Sister Fidelma.
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on 2 January 2013
This book makes for easy reading and is pleasant enough, but it did not have the power of Paul Doherty or the attraction of the Cadfael novels. I was perhaps irrationally irked by the Americanisms that abound and the constant use of "for cert" which seemed anachronistic, but who am I to judge? If you enjoy medieval mysteries you will probably enjoy this.
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on 12 April 2013
I found this book OK but a bit slow and ponderous in places. The plot was good enough and the setting and characters interesting but I think that perhaps the author's style of writing, in my personal view, let it down, certainly when compared with Paul Doherty or Susanna Gergory, etc.
As with others the americanisms annoyed me. I don't think "for cert" was a mediaeval expression, although the author might have thought it sound like one, however I could live with that, what really grated was "John had written Rupert" - written to, please! Perhaps getting annoyed over little things like this indicates that I was not engrossed in the book enough to overlook them.
I might give the second in the series a go to see if there is any improvement but there are a multitude of better historical crime and thriller books out there
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This is a book from a new writer who has got closer than most to the true atmosphere of life in a medieval religious community. If you enjoy mysteries set in medieval days, give this one a try. The characters are solid and believable. The settings and dialogue are well-researched and accurate.
It's difficult, when you write a book about a time several hundred years ago, to portray accurately the feeling of a very different time while realizing that human nature is basically much the same now as it was then. There were greedy people, lazy people, untrustworthy people. We know the type, we see them and their effects every day. What we don't see is a huge section of the population desperately clinging to religion to save them from the fires of hell. The writer straddles this dichotomy very well.
Her characters are so well realized that I'm hoping to meet many of them again in future books
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on 10 March 2013
Generally I don't like medieval mysteries. For me this book breaks that prejudice. The historical background seems fascinating and well researched, the story is engrossing and the characters are interesting and develop as the book progresses. I will read more of this series.
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on 6 March 2013
The characterisations and plot started well but I became bored with the story by the middle of the book and found the repetition of Americanisms such as 'for Cert' and descriptions of 'green eyes' very off putting for a novel of medieval England. It just did not seem to hold together very well historically for me either with Bedlam mentioned which was a later institution. Not on a par with very many other excellent historical authors as regards language used, historical accuracy or plot intricacy.
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on 3 April 2013
Tip top thriller. Fascinating historical detail and interesting characters. Expect more from this period and the problem solving monastics, Cadfael may have met his match.
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on 8 February 2013
Well researched with a good evocation of the period but the plot is a little plodding at times. I feel the author is more concerned about slotting in all she knows about the hardships of life in Medieval England at the expense of pace and lively dialogue. Thomas is the least convincing character In the novel and I could not warm to him. Hopefully, as this is part of a series, the characters and the plots will 'fill out' and I will become as attached to them as those in other Medieval crime mysteries.
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on 2 March 2014
it needs more depth and a more research but the story was strong and fun in places young almost teenage prioresses were certainly sent to monastarys and nunnerys because of their rich background and family .. how suitable they were is another story and possibly one reason the nuns got such a bad reputation but this young lady had a good head on her shoulders and the smarts to make friendsand knew respect is earned not forced it was well done and enjoyable
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As a reader, I love a book that delivers the key ingredients that I'm looking for within a genre, in this case, twists, intrigue and murder most foul. Yet for wanting all this, the item that remains at the top for all my choices no matter the genre is a lead character that helps me not only adjust to the time in to which the story is set but gives me foibles and character traits that all me to not only associate with them but also means that they're personable enough for me to want to hang around them.

What occurs within is a story that not only delivers what the reader wants but gives them a story that not only has you guessing throughout but also demonstrates how the newly appointed Prioress finds a way to make her own authority take hold of her new charge, it has great pace, some wonderful prose but for me the lead character is a woman of many shades who not only battles a mind of wits with the established of her charge but also has to fight a war of emotional turmoil as another new arrival twists her inner desires. All in a great story and one that I was more than happy to spend time with.
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