Sunday, 19 September 2010

Nicole Galland's The Revenge of the Rose is an unusual historical novel, which I chanced on while browsing in my local branch library, looking for a good holiday read. Although set in medieval times, it is definitely on the light side, with romance well to the fore rather than reality. The author says in her notes that she was more concerned with telling a story than historical accuracy, and the story she tells is a good page-turner. The main characters are Willem of Dole, a landless knight, his sister Lienor, their friend Jouglet, a minstrel, and Konrad, Holy Roman Emperor. The events take Willem and Jouglet to Konrad's summer camp, to various tournaments in which Willem excels, thus catching the eye of Konrad and becoming drawn into his company. Konrad is looking for a bride, but one who also has to meet the approval of his council, and Willem's sister Lienor is a prospective Empress. Meanwhile in a side plot, Konrad's steward Marcus has fallen in love with Imogen, Konrad's cousin. Willem's rise in fame brings the prospect that he may be affianced to Imogen, thereby shattering Marcus and Imogen's plans to marry. How all eventually ends happily is quite cleverly told, in a cheerful pacy style. Just right for a not too serious holiday read.

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