Friday, December 18, 2009

The Little Duke by Charlotte Mary Yonge

An inspiring story of Richard the Fearless (943-996) who became Duke of Normandy at the age of 8. Relates the perils of his childhood, both at home in Normandy and during his captivity at the court of France, and how at long last he came to embrace the values his father espoused.

One of these days I went browsing Project Gutenberg to see if I found anything interesting for a challenge I was involved in and that interested me at the same time.

When I found this title I didn't immediately realise it was a story for children, what appealed to me was that it was a medieval story and I seldom resist those.

I really did like it and can totally see how it would appeal a child. The hero is a child, Richard of Normandy, who inherits the dukedom on his father's death while still a child. The little Duke (very well titled) becomes first a prisoner of King Louis of France and then, after escaping with the help of his loyal servants, allies himself with the Danes and manages to imprison the King who is later exchanged for his sons that Richard had met while at court.

Basically this is the story of a young boy becoming a man, controlling his emotions, conquering his desire of vengeance and fully embodying the Christian values of forgiveness and good will to others. Richard of Normandy would later be known as Richard the Fearless and the great-grandfather of William the Conqueror.

Grade 4/5

1 comment:

  1. I know this an old post but I spied Charlotte Yonge in the list of posts and couldn't resist a peek.
    I discovered this book a couple of years back and read it to the family - ages 10 - 15 and they loved it. It brought alive a little known period of history. I wish there were more books like this for younger readers.