Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Book Review: The Sixth Surrender by Hana Samek Norton

About the Book: Sister Eustace, born Lady Juliana, the last of the de Charnais line, is about to pledge body and soul to the cause of the queen duchess, Alienor of Aquitaine. Learned yet humble, passionate yet wholly innocent, Juliana has a singular determination - to possess her rightful home, the viscounty of Tillieres.

Alienor's young scribe must choose: husband or the cloister. Juliana prays for a man who is honorable, kind, and literate. Instead she is promised to Guerin de Lasalle, a worldly though landless mercenary with a blackened soul. The couple enters the union with just one shared desire: to put an end to the marriage.

As the queen's prophecy, "Honor, like love, comes in many guises," echoes through Juliana's first days as a wife, the race intensifies to safeguard the crowns of Normandy and England for John Plantagenet, Alienor's last surviving son. Schemes by traitorous lords and the mystery of Lasalle's past could cost John his thrones - and Juliana her life.

My thoughts: I'm not sure if it was the strange names, the unfamiliar history, the language of the period or a combination of all three, but I had a slightly difficult time following some of the plot lines. I don't like having to concentrate as hard as I had to, when reading fiction.

That being said, the parts I did understand easily, I did enjoy. Although, enjoy is probably not the right word to use, considering how much this made me appreciate that I did not live during this period of history! There were schemes, plot twists, battles and politics - a lot going on and a lot to keep track of.

I found the interplay between Juliana and Guerin to be very interesting - I found it to be very realistic in fact, because their relationship could've been so much better if they had trusted each other enough to actually communicate what was going on in their thoughts and lives. I think the same could be said for many real life relationships as well. The truth is not always easy to tell, but deception always makes things worse.

Thank you to Penguin Group for providing me with my complimentary review copy of The Sixth Surrender.

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