le 5 novembre 2010
Before you read this book, take the phone off the hook, make yourself a large cup of cocoa and snuggle up in your favourite chair as you will be drawn into this novel from the first few pages!
A wholly engrossing read - the characters draw you into their mediaeval lives and tell you their story. Liza - an elderly midwife who has some basic medical knowledge and knows the healing powers of herbs - is midwife to the local villagers who need her services. But she treads a fine, and often dangerous, line with her work. The ever-present threat of 'witch' is in the background from the all-powerful patriarchal Church.
The author speaks with the language of the day and her male and female characters live - from today's perspective - bleak lives filled with hardship and toil. But they rejoice at the things we do: birth, weddings, christenings, marriages and have a pragmatic acceptance of the things they cannot change, illness and death.
Liza is the central character and her tale is often harrowing but as the author writes her story, you are transported there. You, too, are in Liza's little hut as she works away stirring her herbs over the smoky fire. The author's descriptions are well-observed and capture a picture - at one point I could smell the woodsmoke of Liza's fire and see her cluttered hut through her eyes. Now that's a good author - who brings you into the scene as a silent observer.
I read this book eagerly the first time. When I was getting to the end I was slowing down as I didn't want this story to end. And I'm now reading it for a second time to savour this tale.
So make yourself comfortable - you will be drawn into this tale of mediaeval intrigue and then, like me, will be impatiently awaiting another book.
A cracking good read .... buy it, enjoy it, savour it, and bring old Liza to life in these pages !!