You guys- I miss you. I miss you all. I promise I haven't died or fallen off the planet! I am working 60+ hours for the next three weeks and I have so much to talk about, but I promise you I'll come back as soon as I can. In the meantime, I have book reviews to tide you over.
Like this odd little book.
Sinful Folk - Ned Hayes
In December of the year 1377, five children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. A small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths.
Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village.
For years, she has concealed herself and all her secrets. But in this journey, she will find the strength to claim the promise of her past and find a new future. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.
I will come right out and say this is not a genre or type of book I usually go for because it's just to much to think about for me and I generally avoid it. But as of late, I had a reader suggest I step outside of my box and I saw this and I thought, "yes- this is a perfect chance to jump out of my young adult/romance/new adult/paranormal box like a big girl!". And now, I kind of like my box because I didn't totally love it. It was kind of odd for me.
The worst part is I am obviously a terrible judge of this book because everyone else I know who has read it, or reviews I have read are just in love with this book. And I can see why, it's a really compelling story. We have Mear, who pretends to be a mute man in a strange little village but really she's a former nun who got pregnant and had a son. So she left there and stumbles on this village by accident and decided that the best way to survive is to play the mute man card. Which, all is well and good for about ten years until her son is killed along with four other boys when this building in the village burns down. It's very tragic and horrifying really, so the townsfolk whose children died set out on this really ill fated and bizarre mission to haul the dead bodies of the boys to somehow avenge their death and prove that clearly, the Jews did it, despite having no evidence of that.
A friend said this book reminded her of Chaucer, and though I admittedly have only read a small amount of Chaucer, I would agree. The writer has a real talent where you read this and you can almost imagine the setting, you can hear the voices of the townsfolk. You can feel this building sense of doom throughout the book while simultaneously learning about Mear and why not only being pregnant was scandalous but also learning who her son's father is and it's just... if you think back to what it would have been like in 1377 for a person like her, you totally understand why she did what she did. And, for me, it made the death of her song that much more tragic for her. Because not only does she lose her son, she's lost her identity, and now it's not like she just go back to being a nun.
It's a hefty book and I'll be honest, this took me a few weeks to get through because I struggle with old versions of English language, so at times I got bored and had to give up for the night because it wasn't an easy, light read. The material is kind of heavy, but the descriptions really are great. I can't say that enough. I mean, Ned Hayes really went for it when writing this book and that is absolutely amazing. But if you are a fan of Middle Age books, you are going to love this. You will, and I'll admit- I'm the oddball who isn't totally loving this book. (Don't throw tomatoes, save them for your salads.)