Thursday, 15 July 2010

Thoughts from a reviewer

Till the Day Go Down
Jen Black Quaestor2000. 2009. £9.99, pb, 203pp, 9781906836177 also LP

"The border country between England and Scotland is a lawless and dangerous place in the mid-sixteenth century, so when Harry Wharton, travelling through Northumberland on a secret mission to Edinburgh in the summer of 1543, encounters the alluring Alina Carnaby of Aydon Hall at Corbridge market, he gives a false name. The alias could not be worse chosen, for as Alina casually informs him, “my father hates every Scot ever born.”
Thus begins a lively adventure and a passionate romance, for who is to doubt that Harry and Alina are made for each other, if they can only overcome the plentiful obstacles thrown in their way.
I was slightly distracted by the odd quirky simile (our heroine’s thoughts bobbing about like rabbits in a field) and a couple of encounters between characters that seemed far too convenient. Alina’s tendency to “squawk” or “bleat” in moments of stress did no justice at all to this strong-willed, independent–minded young lady.
That said, Jen Black writes with great verve and gives us a vivid sense of time and place, with a hero and a heroine to cheer for and a grand cast of supporting characters, especially the loyal village lad Matho, Alina’s childhood friend.
(Aydon is a real village, and there is an Aydon Castle, which appears much as it does in this book – it dates from the 13th century and was renovated in the mid-16th century.)

Mary Seeley.
Historical Novels Review Issue 52, May 2010, p 26
I was pleased with this review but don't know how or where to reach Ms Seeley, so must tender my thanks here.
Last night I tried using the Options function in Blogger and entered this post to be "posted" at a little past midnight ready for the following day. I opened up my computer this morning, and see it hasn't appeared, so being of an impatient disposition, immediately did it the normal way. Sod's law suggests that at some point today, Blogger will swing into action and post it for a second time. If that happens, I can only apologise, and grit my teeth.

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