ENGLAND 1216: DISSATISFACTION WITH KING JOHN HAS BRED A CIVIL WAR WHICH
THREATENS THE SOCIAL ORDER. Unwanted and unloved, rebellious Miriel Weaver is forced to a convent by her violent stepfather. Her plan to escape from the harsh life of a novice nun crystallises with the arrival of recuperating soldier of fortune Nicholas de Caen. Miriel sees in his pride and self-sufficiency a kindred spirit and, once he is well enough to leave, a way out. The two part in Nottingham on bad terms which are to blight both their lives. When they meet again by chance, they agree to call a truce -- but the truce becomes first friendship and then a dangerous passion. Almost too late, Nicholas and Miriel
realise that the chain of events triggered by their first meeting could now
ensure they never know the pleasure of living ...
It seems with every new Elizabeth Chadwick book I read, I become more of a fangirl of her work. Like in previous books what really draws me in are the characters she creates and their complexity. How they become real to us.
Unlike other books this story does not deal with the nobility. It deals with the common people, traders and particularly weavers, and I really enjoyed knowing something about that trade.
Elizabeth Chadwick beautifully combines history and fiction. In this case she starts out with a real event - the disappearence of the royal treasure during King John's reign - and she plays around with what might have happened to it. This however is not the main subject of the book but more of a pretext to start the action.
Miriel is a young girl, who has been confined to a convent by her family, when she meets Nicholas de Caen. He is brought to the convent after being found unconscious on the road and when he eventually leaves Miriel decides to follow.
Their fate will be closely connected to King John's lost treasure and if as young people they showed great promise when they meet again they are strong and ready to deal with the feelings that had been brewing since their first meeting. Things are not easy though as life has made them walk different paths and will lead them to difficult decisions. Nicholas and Miriel's story makes for a compelling read and I simply could not stop till I reached the last page.