Saturday, March 30, 2013

Review: Shadows and Strongholds by Elizabeth Chadwick

Description (from cover):

'Nothing worthwhile is easy. Not becoming a knight. Not when you don't fit in anywhere.

Brunin Fitzwarin knows this better than anyone. Lost in his own home, he's now a knight-in-training to the Lord of Ludlow--and still utterly alone. That is, until the youngest daughter of the house befriends him.

But England is in turmoil, and Brunin must fight with his lord to support King Stephen for the English crown.

As the war rages on and particularly close to home, Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood and take on the mantle of knight, confronting the future head on.

A rich tale of coming of age in a world where chivalry is a luxury few can afford. Shadows and Strongholds is a tale of earning your place and finding your way home.'

My thoughts:

Over the years that I have been reading historical fiction, one author's name keeps popping up: Elizabeth Chadwick. When Netgalley had this one up for review, I jumped at the chance to read such a popular author and explore a new to me author. Medieval England isn't a place where I normally delve when reading historical fiction, so this was a nice change to learn something new about English history that I haven't read about a million times. Elizabeth Chadwick has a way of weaving a tale together through time and making it seem like a masterpiece. No wonder she is as popular as she is.

The story starts out with Brunin as a young boy getting reading to be sent into knight training with the Lord of Ludlow. He is unsure of himself and has to deal with his fear of confrontation. Over the years, he becomes a fine knight and the reader gets to follow along the journey of his transition from boyhood to knighthood. The chivalry in this story leaves something to be desired in our times and it was nice to read about the 'code' and honor. As Brunin falls in love with Hawise, the youngest daughter of Lord Ludlow, he learns that being a true knight comes from the heart.

There were plenty of twists and turns in this one, enough to keep me utterly intrigued. However, I did feel that the story was a little long and could have been shortened in some sense, but I am still glad that I read it. The other problem that I had was that the sex scenes were a little too graphic. I normally don't like books that go into detail and this one wasn't horribly graphic, just more than I like. Nevertheless, a good read that allowed me to explore another period of English history. I will be looking into Chadwick's other books, as her writing style is unique and captivating and deserves my attention.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  Shadows and Strongholds
Author:  Elizabeth Chadwick
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Sourcebooks
Publication Date:  March 5, 2013
Pages:  544
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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