Elinor had to hurry before Hugo and the kitchen servants came back for the date sweetmeats and apples dipped in honey that were spread on a table. Swiftly she crossed the room and took one of Hugo’s knives with a horn handle. It was an old one, thin in the blade from having been honed against the whetstone so often. And it was as sharp as any dagger…
Elinor is in love with Bertran, a troubadour. But her parents will not hear of the match and Elinor is to be betrothed to an elderly nobleman. Facing the prospect of a loveless union, she flees her castle to find Bertran… Bertran has been the unlucky witness of a brutal murder for which the Pope will seek a terrible revenge. It is Bertran’s duty to warn his fellow heretics that their lands are likely to be forfeit and that Southern France is on the eve of a terrible war… Elinor and Bertran are to meet again as they find themselves enveloped in a rising tide of bloodshed that threatens the very fabric of their society. An epic and richly embroidered tale of love and war from the much acclaimed Mary Hoffman.
I was definitely expecting more from this book, although I did enjoy it. This may have been because I’ve been wanting to read it for a few years now and was expecting a lot. However, I’m not saying that this wasn’t a good book. I did enjoy it and it had a great story, plus I loved the medieval setting of the book. The descriptions were so vivid and I only wish that I knew a bit more about the geography of France while I was reading the book.
The story itself never slowed down for a moment, and although the timeline did get a bit confusing sometimes, I did like it. I really enjoyed the conflict that was going on in this book, and I thought those scenes were very well written. The reasons behind the fighting was easy to understand and it was really interesting to learn a bit more about this period of history while reading the book. Another thing that I liked was that the romance didn’t overshadow the plot at all and actually took a bit of a backseat to the main story.
What I didn’t like as much was the amount of times the point of view changed within each chapter. Although it definitely didn’t happen as much as it did in The Falconer’s Knot, I still got annoyed about the fact that I couldn’t spend more time reading about my favourite characters. Talking of the characters, I really liked the way Eleanor’s character developed as she experienced more of life and I thought she was really interesting to read about. Bertran was also a great character to read about and I really liked the role he played during the battles. However, I did feel that the characters on the whole could have been a bit more three dimensional because some of the did seem a bit flat.
I did enjoy this book, and although it wasn’t as good as I was hoping it would be, it was an interesting read with a great story.