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The Swan-Daughter (The Daughters of Hastings Book 2) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Once again, the reader is taken back to the period of the early Normans, which is exquisitely conveyed through the attention to detail that Carol McGrath, a highly skilled researcher, has paid to the period.
The political events of the times are brought alive for the reader, and are a backdrop for a vivid depiction of the lives of the people at that time, of the castles and houses in which they lived, rich and poor, of their food, their clothes, of childbirth and medical care, of the role that religion plays in society and especially of the position of women in the Middle Ages. The constraints and obligations placed upon women at that time, particularly those born to the nobility, are graphically captured in the pages of the novel, and will be of great interest, I'm sure, to women of today.
Gunnhild was brought up in Wilton Abbey, and not surprisingly since she is an heiress of importance, the church is keen for her to stay in the nunnery. Gunnhild, however, has no desire for a religious life, nor for any sort of life within the precincts of a nunnery. She longs to escape, and she longs for love. The possibility of escape comes in the attractive form of the slightly older Count Alan of Richmond and Brittany, the red-headed knight who had once been a suitor for her mother’s hand.
Count Alan’s path crosses Gunnhild's on more than one occasion, and each time they exchange friendly banter. He then proposes that they elope.Read more ›
As in the Handfasted Wife, her first book in the series, this is a meticulously researched book. fortunately Carol has the gift of not letting this get in the way of telling a rollicking good story. Its a fascinating era to write about, and in Carol's capable hands, to read about as well.
Alternating between England and Brittany, in a time when the Doomsday Book was causing all of England to re-evalueate their lives, and with a cracking love story at its heart, this was a really good read.
Now I'm looking forward to the final book in the trilogy.
What Ms McGrath excels at is bringing you into a Medieval household and making it feel as real and vital as one's own. The detail is extraordinary and vivid and so recognisable - people were no different to us, they still ate, drank and coveted clothes and sparkly things. Gunnhild's near obsession with a gown belonging to her aunt is touching and so very human, taking her from childhood to womanhood.
This novel can be read as a stand alone story and works well as such, but to fully appreciate the impact of the events that over-take the characters one really should read 'The Handfasted Wife' first. And why wouldn't you? It is just as brilliant as this novel.
It is a beautifully written story, the sentences rolled like 'honey' on the page and any story that has me in tears for most of it warrants a second and even third re-read. Just can't wait for the third book now!!
Gunnhild is a sympathetic and believable heroine. She was brought up in the local Abbey, and as a noble lady the church has a vested interest in her lands and inheritance. Gunnhild has other ideas, feeling no desire for a life of seclusion. There appears to be a solution in the form of a suitor, Alan of Richmond, who at first appears to be all a woman of her status could desire. An elopement ensues, and Gunnhild imagines her future will be rosy. But as she uncovers more about her new husband, a controlling man who is more at home in battle than in the bedchamber, she begins to doubt his reasons for marrying her, and the love she so desperately needs seems to become even more elusive.
However, when her husband's duty takes him away from home, Gunnhild develops strengths she did not know she possessed.This is one of the pleasures of this book - watching Gunnhild mature and become the agent of her own destiny, no mean feat in this period of history. And of course there is a satisfying ending, which I wont reveal, because if you have any sense you'll click 'buy' and read it for yourself.
Although this is the second in a trilogy it stands well in its own right. However, you'll want to read the others in the series, they are so well-written and researched.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book works as a stand-alone, but it certainly helped having read the first book in the Daughters of Hastings trilogy, as I was able to put it into context. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Suzanne Goldring
Great trilogy. Couldn't put these books down. Well researched, well written.Published 1 month ago by Willow of Kent
Thoroughly enjoyed the continuing story of the family of King Harold, Well Written and very well researched with the added authors' fictional licence allowing the interest to be... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mrs. J. A. Ferris
My own research, into land use in Suffolk in the 12thC, has often concerned the fate of Edith Swan-Neck's lands, and in particular that portion that passed to her daughter... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nicola Moxey