Thursday, January 21, 2010
"The Time of Singing", by Elizabeth Chadwick
Blending an array of authentic period details into a modern tale, Ms Chadwick has given life to two remarkable individuals. The book spans between 1173 and 1199 during the years of Henry 11's reign, this historical fiction is centered on Roger Bigod, heir to the earldom of Norfolk and his wife Ida de Tosney.
With a steady pace and emotional tension, the story tells how Henry 11 was drawn by Ida's naivety and innocence and quickly made her his unwilling mistress, a son named William came from that union. He eventually gave her up in marriage to Roger Bigod.
At the same time we follow Roger Bigod from his struggle to regain his earldom which was stripped from his father and disputed by his stepmother and brothers to the beginning of his relationship with Ida and finally to their long and remarkable life together.
"The Time of Singing", propels the reader into two worlds, one tells, a love story with its moments of tenderness and lust and the other covers meticulously the life of medieval England bankrupted by its Crusades and politics, a country at the mercy of its kings and leaders.
The writing is captivating and grabs your attention from the start. The story is straight forward and not encumbered by frivolous details. The characters are cleverly described and vividly brought to live. This is one absorbing novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.