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Another cracker from Chadwick
on 13 February 2010
I've read a number of Elizabeth Chadwick's historical novels in quick succession recently, all of which have been excellent, but this has to be my favourite so far - perhaps because it concentrates on members of the medieval merchant class, rather than the lords and ladies that more usually feature in her books, so there's less in the way of a political backdrop, sieges, the begetting of male heirs and battle scenes. (Not that there's anything wrong with those, of course, but the change was welcome.)
The steamy bulging-of-the-braies and slipping-of-the-wimple romance remains (hooray!) but this time it is set against the wool and shipping trades. Daring escapes from a nunnery, cunning disguises, theft of the King's riches, thoroughly unpleasant husbands, and a nail-biting pirate attack all feature here.
As always, Chadwick's fiction is woven around a framework of known fact, making it all the more fascinating. I've yet to discover another author who recreates this period of history in such a compelling and believable way, and genuinely rue the day that I finally run out of Chadwick novels to read.