Thursday, 8 October 2009

Review - Alys CLARE – “The Joys of My Life”

Publ: 2008
Pensby Library
ISBN: 978-0-7278-6695-0
Genre: Historical mystery
Pages: 216p
Found by Serendipity
Rating: ***** **

What led you to pick up this book?
This is the twelfth mystery in the Hawkenlye series and I have read a couple of the previous ones and enjoyed them.

Describe the plot without giving anything away.
It is May 1199 and Abbess Helewise has been summoned to France by Queen Eleanor to discuss the building of a chapel at Hawkenlye Abbey. Meanwhile, her close friend Sir Josse dAcquin is on the trail of a group of mysterious knights rumoured to be devil worshippers. As Helewise heads for home, Josse follows his quarry to Chartres, where he meets the last person he expects: his former lover, Joanna. And she has grave problems of her own . . .

What did you think of the characters and style?
The Hawkenlye novels are cosy historical mystery that require little effort and are useful books for when your mind wants a rest from the more serious things in life. Having said that they are well-written and capture the atmosphere of the twelfth century quite well without putting one’s knowledge or vocabulary to the test.

What did you like most about the book?
It was simply an easy read.

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

Thoughts on the book jacket / cover.
Better than some of the previous Hawkenlye ones. More atmospheric.

Would I recommend it?
Only to those who like a cosy historical mystery.

ALYS CLARE is the pseudonym of novelist Elizabeth Harris (born 1944) with some 20 published works to her name. Brought up in the countryside close to where the Hawkenlye Novels are set, she went to school in Tonbridge and later studied archaeology at the University of Kent. She lives for part of the year in Brittany, in a remote cottage deep in an ancient landscape where many past inhabitants have left their mark; on her doorstep are relics that date from the stone circles and dolmens of the Neolithic to the commanderies, chapels and ancient tracks of those infamous warrior monks, the Knights Templar. In England, Alys's study overlooks a stretch of parkland which includes a valley with a little spring. The waters of this spring are similar in colour and taste to Tunbridge Wells's famous Chalybeat Spring, and it was this that prompted Alys's setting of her fictional Hawkenlye Abbey in the very spot where her own house now stands.

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