Review by Daisy
Okay, I admit I am not a big fan of historical novels - if I am completely honest, I do not like them at all...
So how is it that I have just read this and been completely enthralled by the story?
A lot of it is due to the excellent quality of the language - not an anachronism in sight - and the fact that it rings true. The characters are lovingly drawn with a depth which is unusual in other novels of this genre that I have read.
This is the story of a girl called Alice Moore who has never known her father, he died before she was born, and who loses her mother at the beginning of the story. She leaves the household where she works to avoid being used as 'more than a cook' by the new squire. She returns to a very lonely valley with a cave and a shepherd's hut that she played in as a child. She proceeds to eke out the smallest of livings by collecting wool and spinning it to sell at market. Her world is turned upside down when she discovers an overturned wagon with a toddler clinging to a woman near the wreckage. The tale from this point on is about their life together and the changes they must undergo.
The backdrop of the War of the Roses is present but does not interfere with the main story, it is used masterfully to set up some of the key situations within this novel. The action is set in Yorkshire and this landscape is depicted in loving detail by the author with an attention to accuracy that is refreshing to read. There is enough interest in the action with both good and bad happening as you would expect.
This book is not warts and all but neither is it a prettified version of historical life, it accepts that life went on and people enjoyed what they could, when they could. Just as we do now, really. And that is what I liked about this story - it was people-centred, about life, love and moving on.