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Fortune's Wheel: The First Meonbridge Chronicle (The Meonbridge Chronicles) Paperback – 7 Nov 2016

4.4 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Silverwood Books (7 Nov. 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781325820
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781325827
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,018,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Carolyn Hughes was born in London, but has lived most of her life in Hampshire. After completing a degree in Classics and English, she started her working life as a computer programmer, in those days a very new profession. But it was when she discovered technical authoring that she knew she had found her vocation. She spent the next few decades writing and editing all sorts of material, some fascinating, some dull, for a wide variety of clients, including an international hotel group, medical instrument manufacturers and the government. She has written creatively for most of her adult life, but it was not until her children grew up and flew the nest several years ago that writing historical fiction, took centre stage in her life. She has a Master's in Creative Writing from Portsmouth University and a PhD from the University of Southampton. 'Fortune's Wheel' is her first published novel.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a delightful book! For some reason, I’m always a bit apprehensive when I start to read an historical novel because I can’t always cope with strategic plots involving kings and earls and knights of the realm and so on, especially when I know they are taken from real life. Also, I don’t want every book I read to be full of wars and bloodshed, again, especially when I know it’s real history.
There was none of that in this book. Set in the time just after the Great Plague, or ‘Mortality’ as it’s referred to here; this is the story about ordinary people trying to continue their lives after so many of their loved ones have died as victims of the plague. But it’s not boring – oh no, far from it. I found myself deeply involved in the lives of the characters, struggling within the Manorial system that existed in those days and how the shape of their lives can change at the whim of their masters. I learned a lot about life in the fourteenth century and about the Manorial System and so on. I think human nature hasn’t changed much – if I didn’t know better, I would have said it was the start of the Trade Unions!
I am not into going into lots of detail about the story because I think it spoils it for the readers but I will say that Ms Hughes has beautifully interwoven the various storylines so that the reader can easily slip out of one into another and back again with no difficulty; in fact, it is a village, a community whose lives are interwoven and so the whole thing is very natural.
I was so involved that I was rather surprised when it ended, although I suppose it ended in a good place, leaving some story lines to continue in the next book.
Thanks very much, Ms. Hughes, I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to reading the next one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is set in the turbulent times following the plague. It charts the social unrest, intrigue and ultimately murder in a village coming to terms with the aftermath of many deaths. The story builds in intensity with sharply defined characters. The detail and research are meticulous. I found it became compelling to read and I look forward with anticipation to the next book. This is an impressive first novel from someone which may become the CJ Samson of the Dark Ages! I enjoyed it enormously.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In Fortune’s Wheel, the author presents an authentic picture of life in the 14th Century, its hazards and problems and its ordinary day-to-day events. But, although the difficulties are very different from those experienced in modern times, the relationships, emotions and reactions of the characters are timeless and I, as a 21st Century reader, was able to identify with them.
I very much enjoyed the book and particularly liked Alice, Eleanor and Margaret, three strong female characters coping in a society where women are second class citizens and the poor are oppressed by the rich.
This book is the first in a trilogy and I very much look forward to meeting the inhabitants of Meonbridge again in the next volume.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:

'...a promising novel from a debut author. Being set in a fascinating period and centring around some engaging characters... for an insight into a different-to-the-norm period this is a story worth reading as it is obvious that the author knows her period very well.'

Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
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Format: Paperback
Fortune’s Wheel is a historical novel set in Hampshire in 1349. I chose to read this because Hampshire is my county, so I was delighted that many of the place names were familiar. The story revolves around a year in the life of the villagers of Meonbridge.

So what was life like in 1349? Bubonic plague had just swept through Britain, and Meonbridge lost at least half of its residents. The village was overseen by Lord and Lady de Bohun of the manor, who owned lands rented to tenants. I was very interested to learn that the village consisted of a mix of villeins (peasant farmers legally tied to the manor), cottars (lowest form of peasant) and freemen and women. There was also the miller and blacksmith. The author showed us how the villagers were expected to pay the manor rents for land, businesses and death duties. They were also expected to work for the manor; boon work, giving time freely to bring in the harvest. During the week they would do ploughing, hedging etc. The manor in turn provided housing, a court to oversee disputes, and elected men to carry out duties within the village: a reeve, a bailiff and constables.

There was a large cast of characters which at times were hard to keep track of. However, the main story weaving its way back and forth is about the mysterious disappearance of Agnes atte Wode. Agnes is the daughter of Alice, a villein friend of Lady Margaret de Bohun and well respected village woman. Her son, John, is held back from searching for Agnes by his new appointment of village reeve. Both John and Alice are sure the Lord’s children knew more about the disappearance of Agnes that was first thought.

A second strong theme runs through the story, that of the potential for a peasants' revolt.
Read more ›
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