Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Review - Cora Harrison – “Michaelmas Tribute”

Publ: 2008 Macmillan
Pensby Library
ISBN: 978-1-4050-9225-9
Genre: Historical murder mystery.
Pages: 326p
Found by Serendipity
Rating: ***** ****

What led you to pick up this book?
It was one the new books shelf in Pensby Library and I love exploring any new historical fiction author.

Describe the plot without giving anything away.
The second mystery in the Burren Series, this delightfully written historical mystery sees Mara, the Brehon (Judge) of the Burren in Western Ireland, investigating two deaths which may (or may not) be linked. Set in Ireland in the 16th Century the laws of Henry VIII of England do not apply here. Instead a wonderful and fascinating, ages old legal system is administered and adjudicated upon by the Brehon of each Irish Kingdom.

What did you think of the characters?
Very well delineated and sympathetically appropriate to the period.

What did you think about the style?“A lovely, balanced blend of historical detail and good story telling... a clever mystery, a richly textured rendering of sixteenth-century Ireland with its fascinating legal system.”

What did you like most about the book?
All too often historical novelists sacrifice plot for history or history for plot. Cora Harrison blends them together brilliantly so we have an excellent mystery and fascinating history.

Was there anything you didn't like about the book?

The non-Gaelic speaker could have done with a translation of the occasional word but in a way it helped to add to the atmosphere.

Thoughts on the book jacket / cover.
OK - appropriate but somehow uninspiring.

Would I recommend it?
To anyone keen on historical fiction it is a must-read.

CORA HARRISON worked as a headteacher before she decided to write her first novel. She has since published twenty-six children’s novels. ‘My Lady Judge’ was her first book in a Celtic historical crime series for adults that introduced Mara, Brehon of the Burren. Cora lives on a farm near the Burren in the west of Ireland.
Cora Harrison has gone straight into my top ten historical novelists on the basis of this one book alone.

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