- 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)
Fortune's Wheel: The First Meonbridge Chronicle (The Meonbridge Chronicles) Paperback – 7 Nov 2016
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
'...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.'
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was intrigued by the sound of this book, as I remember learning about the plague while I was at primary school and was fascinated by it. Read morePublished 9 days ago by P. Mortimer
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Fortune's Wheel. The detail of the village life, the way in which the various classes of people were treated, the different trades and how they... Read morePublished 24 days ago by Dennis
As I was reading this book I could simply not get my head around the fact that this is Carolyn Hughes first published novel. Read morePublished 29 days ago by JB Johnston
It's no secret that I enjoy reading historical fiction, but it's not often you come across a book set in the 14th Century. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Michelle Ryles
Almost from the very first page, it is clear to see that Meonbridge, this little village we’re visiting, tucked away as it is in the rural heartland of medieval Hampshire, is a... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Stephen Mossop
This book was recommended to me and, although normally I am not a fan of fiction about the middle ages, I was very surprised how much I enjoyed it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by wsh
It is often said that reading is an escape and Carolyn Hughes’ first book is undoubtedly that (not to mention an education!). Read morePublished 1 month ago by Elizabeth A. Wright
‘An everyday story of country folk’. No, not Ambridge but Meonbridge. And not in recent times either, but in the middle of the fourteenth century. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Alan Hamilton