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1 of 52

Well, I started this during last year's "52 in 52" challenge, but didn't finish. For those counting, I got to 41--in part because several of the books I did read exceeded 500 pages, so I don't feel quite the slacker the completed number might indicate. And, clearly, I didn't learn, because I'm currently working my way through Wolf Hall, which is 560 pages long. Oh, well!

Wine of Violence (Medieval Mystery, #1)Wine of Violence by Priscilla Royal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Generally my satisfaction in a "whodunit" is determined by the quality, complexity, and resolutions of the crime, and when those are poorly, shallowly, or obviously presented I generally have a negative impression of the book. While the "mystery" in this one was fairly obvious from the beginning, and the mystery itself not overly well-done, I found myself enjoying this book quite a bit.

This novel (the first in a series) has two strengths for me. The first is the attention to medieval life and thought--the author pays attention to the ways in which the expectations and standards for those living in the 13th century are different from our own. At the same time, she illuminates certain aspects of what it means to be human that are timeless, and puts those in stress against those 13th expectations, or, occasionally, ours. And that leads to the book's second strength--characterization. Those characters she has us spend any significant amount of time with, whether they be "good guys" or not, are revealed to be complex, layered characters, with both virtues and vices.

I look forward to reading more by this author--fortunately, she has quite a solid list for me to work on!



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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
baronessmartha
Jan. 4th, 2012 06:12 pm (UTC)
I love your book reviews. I have added it to my list.
jlbooth76
Jan. 4th, 2012 08:24 pm (UTC)
Mysteries aren't my favorite but I do love well done period stories... and as often happens I wish I had more time to read for fun after reading your review! No danger of getting through the 'wanna read' pile by my bed before the next semester starts up, though.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )