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The Red Velvet Turnshoe Audio Cassette – Audiobook, Unabridged
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The 14th century is a fine backdrop for Clark's Abbess of Meaux series ...Clark's worldly nun has a degree of freedom other women of the period wouldn't have enjoyed and her arduous journey across the Alps is presented in convincing detail (Sunday Times)
'Really engrossing storyline ... a real joy to read... I didn't want this book to end and I will have no hesitation in including it in my top five best reads of 2009. May this author write many more novels of this high quality in the future' (Eurocrime)
'Clark's central character is certainly memorable, and the story woven around her in this, the second of the author's Abbess of Meaux mysteries, is well plotted and meticulously researched ... this unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read ... a great addition to the sleuthing fraternity!' (Press Association)
'Cleverly plotted, this is a gripping novel full of twists and turns, bright with colour and fascinating period detail that brings a turbulent period of history to life' (Choice Magazine)
'Every bit as absorbing as the first ... Clark is proving highly adept at bringing medieval history to life, and The Red Velvet Turnshoe adds considerably to her growing reputation' (Yorkshire Evening Post)
'Reader are taken on a perilous journey through Flanders and France over the Alps through St Bernard Pass onto Florence, all the time threatened by spies and killers determined to stop her' (Folkestone Herald & Dover Express)
'Clark's central character is certainly memorable ... well plotted and meticulously researched ... this highly unusual murder mystery is a fascinating read' (Dundee Courier & Advertiser)
'Hildegard is back! ... this is a well-written historical tale, with a depth of detail which allows the reader to immerse themselves in the fourteenth century ... the book skilfully weaves a complex plot with the rich period background and brings the whole story to life with vivid descriptions and a cast of roguish characters ... highly recommended' (Mystery Woman)
Priase for the first in the Abbess of Meaux series, Hangman Blind (---)
Clark capably draws out the turmoil of rebellion and fealty boiling under Richard II's insecure, juvenile reign, while giving Hildegard plenty of scope to poke her nose the violence engulfing the de Hutton dynasty (Financial Times)
Cassandra Clark's prose is flawless (Daily Telegraph)
'Hildegard is an engaging protagonist, sensible, kindly, resourceful and believable; she is also endearing susceptible to a pair of Saxon blue eyes (Ulf) and Norman grey ones (Hubert). Fans of historical crime will relish this' (Joanna Hines, Guardian)
A strong novel about how denying the past can destroy lives (Sunday Age)
'A promising new heroine' (Diplomat)
'The political background is intriguing and Hildegard is a strong and likeable heroine with a big future' (Huddersfield Daily Examiner)
'The quality of research in this novel is obviously of the highest order and one can only look forward to the next in the series.' (East Riding News)
'History leaps out of the pages in vibrant colours, danger is at every hand, mystery piles upon mystery and you willingly succumb to the enticement of Cassandra Clark's writing' (Northern Echo)
'Clark delivers a medieval whodunnit which is both delicate and dangerous, reeking of lust, treachery, greed and violence and which keeps the reader at least one step behind' (Northern Echo)
'Hangman Blind is a brilliant book which I thoroughly enjoyed - not just because it's set in 1382 with all the richness of that period, but because it's so well written' (BFK Books)
'A well written and engaging story' (Euro Crime (online))
'The strength of the book...is in the quality of the historical imagination and the attempt at integrating the political and social situation into the plot' (Reviewing the Evidence (online))
'Clark is one of the most sure-footed practitioners of this difficult genre.' (The Independant) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
An Abbess of Meaux mystery--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. See all Product description
Top customer reviews
In my estimation there are far better medieval murder mysteries out there, including Ariana Franklin, 'Death and the Devil' by Frank Schatzing, and (getting into Tudor times) C J Sansom. But it's early days for Hildegard, and maybe future books will improve.
But it turned out to be a very frustrating and bewildering read. I have to admit that I haven't read the first one, Hangman Blind (Abbess of Meaux Mystery 1), but I firmly believe that any book worth its salt should be able to stand alone. This author assumes rather too much about her readers' knowledge of the characters, both fictional and real, and the period - if you don't already know about the politics of Richard II's England, you might feel a bit lost and alienated in this world.
It's a very choppy narrative, you hop from Yorkshire, to the Alps, to Italy and back again, and nothing is linked together. New characters pop up everywhere, sometimes with a big build-up (like the sinister Italian countess), only to simply disappear again for no particular reason. Some of the relationships are downright weird - I never understood what exactly Hildegard felt for the strange minstrel Pierrekyn, for instance.
I found Hildegard to be a very unsatisfactory heroine altogether. Compare her to a similar sort of character, Ariana Franklin's Adelia, to see what I mean. Unlike Adelia, it's hard to root for Hildegard or even visualise her, and I kept losing sight of why her life was in such danger all the time. And it's not a good sign when you have to re-read the ending twice, to work out the significance of what's just happened.
In short, this book fails the plot test. It's basically just a murder mystery, so you should be able to stop reading on any page, confident that you know what the point of the whole thing is (I'm afraid it's that word macguffin again). No matter how intricate or far-fetched the story, if you feel you understand the protagonist and what they're trying to find, solve, prevent, escape from, or whatever, then it works. For me, this one didn't.
Maybe I'll leave it a few months and try again. In the meantime, I'll write this one off as another disappointment and re-read Ariana Franklin's The Assassin's Prayer: Mistress of the Art of Death 4 instead, to remind myself of how it should be done.
(Just one final bit of nitpicking, and maybe it's just a personal bugbear of mine, but I wish book designers would do a bit more research - how hard can it be these days, with the internet at your fingertips? Because if that's meant to be Hildegard on the cover, why is she wearing what looks like a bright blue velvet crinoline?)
If you thought Hangman blind was good, read this next one in the Trilogy.
It really takes you into the world of intrigue and dark mystery of Medieval times.
Such wonderful descriptions of life at the time of the Political turmoils of the reign of Richard the second.
A thoroughly good and exciting read!
I think it is a shame however that the latest is still only available in Kindle. I prefer books and am not willing to shell out over £150 plus the price of the book for just one purchase.