by Carolyn Hughes
My rating: 4 stars
Series: The Meonbridge Chronicles - Book 1
Publisher: SilverWood Books (November 7, 2016)
Publication Date: November 7, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Print Length: 273 pages
Plague-widow Alice atte Wode is desperate to find her missing daughter, but her neighbours are rebelling against their masters and their mutiny is hindering the search.
June 1349. In a Hampshire village, the worst plague in England's history has wiped out half its population, including Alice atte Wode's husband and eldest son. The plague arrived only days after Alice's daughter Agnes mysteriously disappeared, and it prevented the search for her.
Now the plague is over, the village is trying to return to normal life, but it's hard, with so much to do and so few left to do it. Conflict is growing between the manor and its tenants, as the workers realise their very scarceness means they're more valuable than before: they can demand higher wages, take on spare land, and have a better life. This is the chance they've all been waiting for.
Although she understands their demands, Alice is disheartened that the search for Agnes is once more put on hold. When one of the rebels is killed, and then the lord's son is found murdered, it seems the two deaths may be connected, both to each other and to Agnes's disappearance.
Fortune's Wheel by Carolyn Hughes
The worst plague in England’s history has decimated the population, its wrath knowing no difference between the wealthy, the poor, the powerful or the weak. Like so many of her neighbors, Alice atte Wode has lost her husband and eldest son to the “mortality.” Unlike her neighbors, just days before the plague her daughter mysteriously disappeared and Alice is determined to find her or at least find the answers to where she went.
As the villagers struggle to rebuild their lives after the plague has gone strife has come as tenants are pushed beyond their limits in their work for the manor. And they realize their value as labor has just gone up. Will the manor deny them the right to better lives in order to keep them under the manor’s thumb?
Carolyn Hughes’s depiction of fourteenth century England in FORTUNE’S WHEEL is rich with detail, yet does not get mired in concentrating on the nuances of the old language. Contemporary dialogue does not take away from the story, but actually makes it a more pleasurable experience as we are allowed to concentrate on the mental images of the world these people lived in.
Certainly a well-written historical novel, the pace is not rapid-fire but steady and strong. An easy to read historical novel with strong characters that many times seem contemporary.
I received a complimentary Review copy from Silverwood Books!