The other day I was delighted to discover that a stationer's on Cannobio's lungolago has given over a small amount of space to books. Cannobio desperately, but desperately, needs a proper bookshop. Italian, German and English (the last just for me, who could happily keep a whole shop in business). This is a good start in Italian books, and it even has a few shelf inches devoted to German and English titles (mostly of the Dan Brown variety). There I found Alys Clare's novel, and happily carried it home for some light reading between sneezes.
I settled down by the woodburner, feet up, glass in hand. I started to read. I liked the easy style, the early pages enticed me into the story, and the characters leapt from the page as characters of this sort are paid to do.
A few pages in I discovered that this book is one in a series and the author was busy recapping on a previous book (or perhaps, books). Don't you just hate that? What do you do when that happens? Stop reading until you've acquired the earlier book(s) in the series? For me, I suspect this would be far more complicated than a quick jaunt down to the lungolago, and might even entail a fairly long wait at Carmine's unofficial post office at the foot of the hill for an Amazon parcel.
Oh, but I was so comfortable there with the brats abed, the stove singing, the cat snoring and the wine going down most satisfactorily. So I read on, spoiling earlier books, but loving this one.
Here's the blurb :
In February 1194 a young man brings plague to Hawkenlye Abbey. He dies within spitting distance, but not of the sickness...Abbess Helewise and her friend Sir Josse d'Acquin take off in hot pursuit of the murderer while the number of plague victims rises...
It's a good read. Ellis Peters meets Marion Zimmer Bradley. Medieval murder mystery meets mystical pagans in the enchanted forest. It's not at all what you might call a challenging read, but sometimes you just gotta give yourself a break while no-one's looking. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
And there are a further nine Hawkenlye books to read. I'll let you know what order to read them in as soon as Hodder answer my fireside email.
Copyright © Louise Bostock 2007, 2008. All rights reserved. Please ask first.