Heaven Tree 1:Heaven Tree Paperback – 7 Aug 1986
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If you do not appreciate this superb novel. I despair of you (ILLUSTRATED London News)
a rattling good story (Tribune) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
The first volume of Edith Pargeter's romantic and much loved trilogy of 12th Century England. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters are beautifully observed and portrayed, showing a depth of insight into human psychology which is a hallmark of Pargeter's work. She also is a first-rate story-teller. I found this hard to put down.
Enthralling, and at times almost unbearably moving.
The whole trilogy is excellent but the Heaven Tree remains the best for me. It's an incredible story which grips you from the outset. I seriousley recommend it but you'll have to buy your own copy.
I vividly remember crying bucketfuls over the first volume, which I read for the first time years ago, in a dingy bed-and-breakfast near Bala in Wales. My fuming family had to wait for twenty minutes while I sat on the bottom step and read to the very end, because I utterly refused to move until I'd finished the book.
My only gripe is that Benedetta puts the ostensible heroine, Gilleis Otley, utterly in the shade. Gilleis can't stand the competition: she's pretty but dull, and you wonder how on earth Harry could prefer her. (Harry, on the other hand, holds his own pretty well against Isembard.) In the sequels Gilleis takes a much less important role, which is as it should be.
If you start reading this much underrated novel, reserve plenty of time because you won't want to stop until you've finished. And make sure you have a large box of Kleenex handy for the ending.
The story is very very good, Edith Pargeter is a fantastic writer, I spent half the book chewing my fingers in anticipation of what was going to happen. The writing style is fairly old fashioned but suits the book perfectly and her sense of anticipation and intrigue is amazing. I loved this book and am looking forward the reading the next 2 in the trilogy.
The bulk of the rest of the book details Harry's daily life as he works on the cathedral and his marriage to the long lost Gilleis, and might be a bit slow paced for some readers. However, things do pick up around page 300 or so as a young Welsh hostage who is allegedly a natural born son of Llewellyn Fawr faces hanging by Isambard at King John's orders. Harry makes a desperate choice to save the boy that has dire consequences for himself, his wife and Benedetta, although Harry returns to complete the cathedral despite the sentence of a traitor's death hanging over him.
While this novel may be a bit too slow paced for some readers, the last 100 pages or so completely make up for the slower pace at the start as the author brings Harry, Gilleis and Benedetta full circle in a desperate race to escape revenge minded Isambard and bring Harry's son and Gilleis to safety in Wales. Pargeter's beautiful prose and writing style is one to sit back and slowly savor like a fine red wine or chocolate (or both!), and I am very much looking forward to starting book #2 in the Trilogy, The Green Branch.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beautifully written and a wonderful story which starts off the talvace trilogy.Published 11 months ago by lesley anne avis
This was described as condition 'Very Good;'. It was in fact in very poor conditionPublished 20 months ago by Lucy R
I read this book many years ago and can still remember the first paragraph which is so descriptive that I can clearly see the 'angel' in my minds eye nearly 20 years later. Read morePublished 20 months ago by SueG
I loved this series of three books when I first read them some years ago. They are all about life, the choices we make and how those choices define who we are. Read morePublished on 18 Nov. 2012 by spud
This is a classic and I am amazed that it is out of print and so hard to come by. This copy is in excellent condition and we are so grateful that it was available, as we lent our... Read morePublished on 20 July 2011 by D. Powell
The first book in Edith Pargeter's excellent Trilogy, this gives a well researched picture of life in the second half of the 12th century in both England and France, with... Read morePublished on 28 Nov. 2010 by Hiraethus o Gymru