Thursday, August 11, 2005

Review~A Crown of Thorns; Fiona Avery

Hubby bought this in the scifi/fantasy section at BAM last week. After reading it, I think it oughta be reshelved along the lines of speculative religious inspirational fiction. Revisionist Christian fiction. Something like that. Warning: if you believe the Bible is the literal, exact Word of God- DO NOT BUY this book. I personally am not a literalist & don't have any major issues with religious speculation. Even if I had strong objections, I would've been nearly all the way through this boook before I realized what was happening.

Taking place between 1234 and 1242 in Paris & Angers France The Crown Rose revolves around the royal family of Louis the IX, the Queen Mum Blanche, sister Isabelle & brothers Robert & Charles. Oh, yes, Louis' wife Margaret too. Poor thing, she never stood a chance trying to fit in with this close knit & doting family, run by Blanche.

The action is told mainly from Isabelle's point of view. After refusing to marry Conrad, king of Germany, Isabelle decides to take vows & become a religious. She resolves to do good works especially to help the poor women of France. Meanwhile, there's plenty of action going on. His Majesty, Louis needs family members to help him with: stolen holy relics that must be found & returned, & conniving relatives who strive to overstep their rightful lands. No to mention those ever land greedy English, whipped into a frenzy by an immoral moneylender who plays all sides in a desperate attempt to win Isabelle's affection. However, he seriously misjudges the consequences of playing the Knights Templar for a pack of fools.

Woven throughout the action are three mysterious sisters who have been Blanche's closest advisors since her husband died twenty years previous. Everything changes when Robert is mortally wounded in the woods & Isabelle begs for land to start a convent. In the end, Isabelle achieves one of her heart's most treasured desires, but is forced to let go of another.

Deftly characterized and thoroughly researched, The Crown Rose definitely pulls you into the middle of a loving family striving mightily to do what is right. The plot is complex and leads you along by the nose until the denoument at the very end.


Anne E. said...

You must stop reviewing good books on your blog -- it is dangerous to my wallet!

Bookwormom said...

LOL, Anne E!!