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on 20 April 2016
I have a well used hardback copy of this book, otherwise known as 'Down the common'. It's what i call my winter book. I think I've read it about four or five times so far, and each time i pick it up I'm immediately plunged into Marion and Peter's world. I almost know the other characters as if they lived in my own village. Don't expect a gripping, swash-buckling adventure story like you might find in a Bernard Cornwell novel. It's not a romantic novel either. It's more a historical, yet realistic, fiction depicting a month by month diary of a women living in a wattle and daub cottage in a small, close-knit village somewhere in (I assume) England around the time of the early medieval period. I love this book so much, it's one of the very few I will read time and time again. I have spent several wintery nights, tucked up in bed, reading it. I believe Ann Bear was fairly elderly when she wrote this book. Such a shame, because it's unlikely we'll ever see another like it.
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on 27 December 2016
I guess I enjoyed reading this book overall but gave up reading it several times only to pick it up again. It's a wonderfully evocative and quite absorbing read but, I felt, was let down by the dialogue between characters which was far too present-day to be as believable as it could have been. Also, some of the character's names e.g. 'Lisa' didn't exactly sound in keeping with medieval times . I felt it could have been a much improved with a bit more effort directed towards making it sound authentic - a bit of a lost opportunity, I think.
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on 28 January 2013
This is the first book I've read that looks at life in Medieval times from an ordinary, poor woman rather than from nobility or royalty. It really brings home to you what everyday life must have been like and what a struggle it was to survive.

It tells the story of Marion, her husband and two children, month by month throughout the year. At times you really feel as if you are there with them, suffering when they suffer and rejoicing when things go well.

An excellent book.
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on 11 February 2014
When looking at books from this period, we tend to find only the aristocracy represented.

This is a great take on a normal family and a village community.

Interesting and heartwarming in places.
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on 10 January 2015
Very good read, but for the parts when the grandfather starts telling his stories, skipped that part, when on too long. Ended abruptly for me.
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on 31 July 2017
Easy to read and interesting subject! Awesome book.
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on 2 April 2015
Love this book!! I don't usually read fiction but just could not put this down and is one of only a few books that I would bother to read more than once. It chronicles the daily life through the eyes of a Medieval peasant woman, her family and neighbours and really gives such a great feeling of what life was like for the poorest people in medieval times - I vowed to never moan about getting out of bed on a 'cold' morning ever again after reading this!! This book is so worth a read - I have bough several for family and friends and they have loved it just as much. Buy it and be transported back in time!!! Amazing!
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on 19 October 2016
This left me feeling so grateful to be living now. The hand-to-mouth existence of our medieval ancestors; the sheer misery of some lives in an indeterminate era some time in the Middle Ages; the randomness of survival; the squalor!
Just how little these folk understood what was happening to them, and yet they survived, or some of them did. My heart went out to these women, in particular the high-born lady with what we would now recognise as a rhesus problem. That would have been me!
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on 2 April 2017
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was so interesting to compare the lives of women then and now. One thing never change a though, it's always the women and mothers who sacrifice and suffer first.
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on 25 July 2015
This is one of my all time favourite books. I bought it several years ago in hardback and what a treat it turned out to be. It's one of the books by my bedside which I dip into time and again. Ann Baer brings the life and times of a Medieval woman to life like no other I've read. I love all the small domestic details in this book. In fact, most of the book is made up of small domestic details so if you're after high adventure don't buy it. The sheer grinding poverty of the villagers is illustrated skilfully and with such realism. All of the characters are so lifelike I felt I knew them and was sorry when the book came to an end. I wanted to continue their journey with them!
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