Blood Rose Angel takes us back to a dark and dangerous time, when Héloïse, the local midwife is forced to choose between her family’s wellbeing, or those who are suffering the devastating effects of the Black Death, the notorious plague which strikes at the very heart of the medieval community of Lucie-sur-Vionne.
As always, time and place is beautifully authentic and from the start of the novel I was transported back in time to the complicated dangers of living in 14th century rural France. Arm in arm with Héloïse, I wrapped myself in a warm cloak, and travelled alongside her as she tended to the travail of the peasant women of Lucie-sur-Vionne. The tension is palpable; the shadowy atmosphere is filled with gloom and is all too sadly complicated by uneducated prejudices and widespread hysteria. Inevitably, Héloïse finds out to her cost, that with knowledge comes responsibility, and as the superstition of local folk is allowed to fester and gain momentum, perilous forces take flight, and even as she is drawn into the fight for survival, always at the heart of the novel, is Héloïse’s absolute conviction that she is following her destiny as the keeper of the Bone Angel talisman.
What I like about this author’s writing style is the way in which she allows both characterisation and plot to have equal importance, with neither one attempting to outshine the other. The medieval setting comes gloriously alive, with all the sights,sounds and smells of the medieval world, and yes, also the petty indifferences, which are so reminiscent of this dangerous time. However, Blood Rose Angel is also inhabited by vibrant and memorable characters who take command of their story and as they leap fully formed onto the page, we are allowed a tantalising glimpse into the intricacies and sadness of their daily lives.
Having travelled the Bone Angel Talisman journey from its inception with Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel, there is no doubt that Blood Rose Angel is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. I was enthralled in the story from start to finish, and by the end, was completely immersed in medieval French culture, and it must be said, rather sorry to say goodbye to Heloise. However, as with all good stories which have been well told, I know that her story will always quietly linger in the shadows of my imagination.
Whilst Blood Rose Angel concludes the story, as with Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel, all the novels can be read comfortably as standalone historical fiction.
Best read with.... wooden cups of yeasty ale and rich, currant pastries liberally soaked in wine ....
About the Author
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Read an extract from Blood Rose Angel
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Ill fated Rose a short story that inspired The Bone Angel series,
My thanks to the author for sharing her book with me.