'THE ASSASSIN'S WIFE' - Moonyeen Blakey
A fast pace and plenty of fabulous description keep the reader hooked to the very end. Ms. Blakey brilliantly recreates the bustling streets of Mediaeval London. We merge into its crowds, hear the gossip and experience the sights, sounds and rancid smells of the capital at the height of civil war. Her depiction of the English countryside is also evocative; she paints an image of a world where honey bees drone and ‘the last pennants of sunlight streamed across a smoke-grey sky, and a warm smell of pottage flavoured the breeze.’
But fifteenth century England is no rural idyll. The novel seethes with intrigue, betrayal and superstition at every social level: bakers’ lads become spies; serving maids ruin reputations with dangerous rumours of witchcraft. Fratricide and regicide are common and priests and Queens fear the machinations of the ambitious and the hands of torturers.
Poor Nan, who is blessed – or cursed – with second-sight, treads a dangerous path through this snake pit as she battles to find happiness with her flawed husband, please her demanding mistress and save the lives of ‘the princes in the tower,' whose deaths she has foreseen in her dreams.
The main characters are brilliantly drawn – especially those at the heart of English politics during this turbulent time. Occasionally, the servants became a confusing blur but this does not distract from an excellent – and cleverly researched – novel which brings alive a fascinating era.
'The Assassin's Wife' on amazon.co.uk