Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Love Knot by Elizabeth Chadwick

The Love Knot
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: Jan 2006 (1st published 1998)
Pages: 480
Book Source: Own

Synopsis: In the summer of 1140, Oliver Pascal returns home from a long pilgrimage to discover England ravaged by civil war and his family lands forfeit to the conflict between Henry I's daughter Mathilda, and her cousin Stephen of Blois, who has seized the crown at her expense. Riding to the Earl of Gloucester's keep at Bristol, Oliver stumbles upon the aftermath of a mercenary attack on an isolated village. Among the survivors are Richard, an illegitimate royal son and half-brother to the Earl himself, and the boy's young nurse Catrin. Widowed, stubborn and proud, she has much in common with Oliver, a man still grieving for a wife lost in childbirth.

At Bristol, Catrin meets Ethel, a wise woman and midwife, who begins to train her in the healing arts and is instrumental in bringing Oliver and Catrin together as lovers. But the endurance of that love is threatened by the perils of injury in battle, the danger of childbirth, the upheaval of continuing civil war, and the risk of loving in exchange for nothing but heartbreak. In the end Catrin must decide where her true loyalties lie.

My Thoughts:
One of my favourite reads of 2008. The Love Knot is a beautiful love story, set during the turmoil of civil war between King Stephen & Empress Matilda in 12th century England. 

Oliver Pascal returns home from a pilgrimage to the Holy Land after losing his wife in childbirth. After losing his lands to King Stephen, Oliver becomes a hearth Knight to Robert of Gloucester, illegitimate brother to Empress Matilda. Oliver rescues the only survivors of a village raided by mercenaries, Richard an orphaned boy is the illegitimate son of the old king and half-brother to Earl Robert & Catrin, maid to the young boy's mother and widowed. 

Richard and Catrin are accepted into the household of Robert of Gloucester but Catrin being an independent, spirited young woman, soon tires of court life. Ehelreda, the old midwife & healer offers to teach Catrin the trade of a midwife & the secrets of her ancient art. I thought Ethel was an endearing character and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about childbirth and healing in the middle ages. 

The Love Knot is a carefully-woven tale, each page flowing with rich colour & detail of the period. The characters are beautifully portrayed & I was carried along by the emerging love between Oliver & Catrin. I liked the fact that they were 'ordinary' characters, a landless knight and a lady's maid. 

Much of Elizabeth Chadwick's research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, an early medieval re-enactment society; while aiding authenticity Elizabeth does mention that it is not a guarantee to 100% accuracy. This a vivid historical read intricately woven with romance & mystery. 


Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to leave some comment love, I'm a 'comment back' kinda girl. Don't forget to check the 'Notify me' box