|9780440244431 — Paperback|
|9780141031897 — Paperback|
A very well written book, with alternating POVs.
Its Historical/Horror/Paranormal genre can be off-putting, and hard to read. However, it’s a really compelling story that is very apropos of today.
Ulewic is a small village in 14th Century England. The villagers are celebrating Beltane and watching the players parade through the village. Little do they know a man is in the Saint’s effigy that is burned in the forest later. The Owl Masters work to summon and worship the Owlman. Agatha is raped in the forest.
The women of the beguinage have just started to establish themselves. The offer help to anyone who needs it, Servant Martha is their leader.
Father Ulewic discovers that Ralph has contracted leprosy. Agatha’s father says she’s no child of his and banishes her to live with the Marthas. Agatha is afraid of the life growing within her. Servant Martha takes in Andrew, a saint from the city.
Father Ulewic ceremonially kills Ralph, banishing him from the village. The Marthas take Ralph in. The villagers think the Marthas are witches. The Owl Masters leave an owl on their doorstep and try to burn their crops, then set a trap for Servant Martha. The trap causes Healing Martha to have a stroke (or the Owlman got to her).
Andrew dies, leaving a holy relic. Agatha’s name is changed to Osmanna and she gets an abortion and struggles with her faith. Beatrice starts to lose her mind when she discovers Osmanna had her baby aborted. Beatrice takes Gudrun the little witch girl under her wing. The village floods. The villagers kill Gudrun. The villagers take Osmanna and accuse her of heresey.
Servant Martha confronts the Aodh and the Owlman. Agatha gets rescued by Pega, Beatrice goes insane, the women of the beguinage leave and the village goes on.
This was a dense book. There’s a lot to this book and many layers. I found myself relating a lot of the issues addressed in this book to our current state of affairs. Men trying to control women through fear, the church’s manipulation, a group of hidden white men controlling everything… It was a seriously creepy book. Very atmospheric.
I thought the plot worked pretty well. I’m still not sure if the Owlman was real or not. I did think the author got a little lost and distracted some times, but that it all came together in the end.
Depending on the character, they were either static or dynamic. Some were more fleshed out than others. Characters whose POV we got we usually more deep that characters POV we didn’t get.
The setting was great. The whole book had a sense of the past, and Ms. Maitland really brought it to life. The village and beguinage felt very real. I think the action had some issues, mostly related to the Owlman, but that may have been intentionally confusing.
I think both Horror and Historical readers would like this book. It might be a little harder to sell to Historical readers who aren’t fans of creepy situations though.
Historical Fiction, Suspense
World Without End by Ken Follett
The Burning Times by Jeanne Kalogridis
An interesting Historical think piece that effortlessly juggles multiple POVs and plots.
Book Discussion Questions and Ideas
How does the situation relate to today?
Talk about faith and its role.
Discuss reality of living in 14th century.
Why I Chose It
I chose this book because I wanted to do a Paranormal book for my book discussion, but not a Paranormal Romance novel. I saw this book in the Genreflecting book and was instantly intrigued. I was very excited to read this book.