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Judith Arnopp

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JenniferLovesRoxi
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Judith Arnopp

Postby JenniferLovesRoxi » Wed August 7th, 2013, 12:33 am

I have been been looking around for more HF books to add to my TBR on my Kindle (like I need any more... already have 1800 books on there!) and found three books by Judith Arnopp titled Peaceweaver, The Forest Dwellers, and The Song of Heledd.

They all sound very interesting and I have been on a major post-Roman Britain reading spree lately and these definitely caught my eye.

They got good reviews on GoodReads, but you just never know about reviews posted there or on Amazon, etc. I was wondering if anyone here had read any of her books and if so what you thought about them.

annis
Bibliomaniac

Postby annis » Wed August 7th, 2013, 7:21 pm

Judith popped up on this forum a few years back and I did buy a copy of Peaceweaver at the time, because I'm fascinated by the whole dynamic of 1066. It was fine, but just didn't grab my attention sufficently. It's still sitting somewhere on my bookshelves with a bookmark in it where I abandoned it. One day I'll get back to it...
Last edited by annis on Wed August 7th, 2013, 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Brenna
Bibliophile
Location: Delaware

Postby Brenna » Thu August 8th, 2013, 2:10 pm

Peaceweaver is on my kindle to read list. Just haven't gotten to it yet.
Brenna

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Lisa
Bibliophile
Favorite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Postby Lisa » Thu August 8th, 2013, 2:26 pm

I got Song of Heledd as a Kindle freebie a while ago, but again, haven't gotten around to it yet!

Carla
Compulsive Reader
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Postby Carla » Thu August 8th, 2013, 6:50 pm

"JenniferLovesRoxi" wrote:I have been been looking around for more HF books to add to my TBR on my Kindle (like I need any more... already have 1800 books on there!) and found three books by Judith Arnopp titled Peaceweaver, The Forest Dwellers, and The Song of Heledd.

They all sound very interesting and I have been on a major post-Roman Britain reading spree lately and these definitely caught my eye.

They got good reviews on GoodReads, but you just never know about reviews posted there or on Amazon, etc. I was wondering if anyone here had read any of her books and if so what you thought about them.


I recently read The Song of Heledd. It's based on the hauntingly beautiful Canu Heledd and Cynddylan poetry. It also features Cadafael as a main character, who has always fascinated me - he was King of Gwynedd in the mid-seventh century and is (in)famous for having marched away the day before a battle, for unknown reasons, getting himself the nickname 'Battle Shirker' as a result. (Ellis Peters later borrowed his name for Brother Cadfael).

The novel is quite short (214 pages in paperback) and told in first person by Heledd. It has a very domestic focus, concentrating on Heledd's home and family life and her relationships with her husband, lover, children and sister. Heledd isn't much interested in politics or war, so those aspects are very much in the background most of the time. The author says 'The Song of Heledd concentrates more upon what it might have felt like to play a female role within that society than how events really happened', and that's a fair description.

Most of the book occurs when Heledd is a teenager or a young woman. I'd have liked to see events from some other viewpoints as well, such as Cadafael and Cynddylan and Heledd's sister Ffreur, for a wider perspective. But that's just a personal preference, and I often feel that way about novels with a single first-person narrator. I was very pleased to find that someone had written a novel about Heledd at all - I've always thought the poetry would make fantastic material for a story, and I don't know of another. (Awen, by Susan Mayse, sort of draws on the Heledd poetry but is set much later, in the ninth century I think).

Anyway, I hope that's some help! I haven't read Judith Arnopp's other novels. If you do, I'll be interested in your thoughts.

If you're interested in post-Roman Britain, you might also like A Swarming of Bees, by Theresa Tomlinson, which is a mystery set at Hild's monastery at Whitby in the late seventh century (review here: http://www.historicalfictiononline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6130). It's available as an e-book. I can also recommend Kathleen Herbert's three North Kingdoms novels, Bride of the Spear, Queen of the Lightning and Ghost in the Sunlight. They are currently out of print but Trifolium Books are bringing out new editions soon, and there will be e-book versions available then. Not quite sure of the dates, but there is information on the publisher's blog: http://trifoliumbooks.blogspot.co.uk/. Also Born of the Sun, by Joan Wolf, which is about Ceawlin of Wessex (mid-sixth-century), one of the founders of Wessex and inexplicably neglected in fiction. If Alfred the Great counts, I also liked Edge of Light, by Joan Wolf. I think both of these are out of print and I have no idea if e-books are available.
PATHS OF EXILE - love, war, honour and betrayal in Anglo-Saxon Northumbria
Editor's Choice, Historical Novels Review, August 2009
Now available as e-book on Amazon Kindleand in Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader), Palm and other formats on Smashwords
Website: http://www.carlanayland.org
Blog: http://carlanayland.blogspot.com


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