Monday, January 13, 2014

Book Review: Shattered Summer by Madeleine Polland


In the summer of 1685, Monmouth landed on the Dorset, declaring himself the legitimate son of Charles II and claiming the throne. Duke's man or King's man? Loyalties are divided as Monmouth rides through the West Country at the head of his random – farmers armed with only scythes and pitchforks. And the young girl Frances, who is thrown from her sheltered life into the heart of the uprising, finds herself doubting the one man she had trusted, and uncertain even of where her love belongs.
THE book. You know the book I am speaking of. The one that when you are finished reading, you feel as if you could start reading it over at once. And you do. And then you do it again; and again. Everyone has that book, I think. “Shattered Summer” is mine. I read it for the first time last spring and I cannot say how many times I read it before it had to go back to the library. But now I have it for my very own and I am one happy girl. :) 
So what is it about this story that keeps it from being just another romance? First, there is serious and understanding William Powell who keeps both Frances (and the story) sane. Second, there is Lady Sarah, Frances' mother, who is fluttery and flustered when little things go wrong and discerning and capable when great matters are at stake. Finally there is gentle, quick, and confused Frances herself. Frances who makes, with William, one of my very favorite literary couples.
And why else do I love this story? Did I mention that there are lovely descriptions of houses and the English countryside–and drama? But not really drama of the directly romantic kind, but of the soldier-and-battle-wound variety, and that is one of my favorite kinds. It is a simple story, but it breathes of the warm, rich, haze of summer and other lovely things like that. It one of those tales that keeps coming to mind, refusing to be put away in the attic and forgotten.

Stars: 5 + of 5 

5 comments:

  1. Okay, I just added this book to my list of books to read. ;) Excellent, compelling review.

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    1. Thank you! Let me know if you enjoy it!

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  2. Oh, this sounds SO lovely, Eowyn! I definitely want to try it....except my library doesn't have it. :( Do you know of any other way of getting it? If not, I may just have to buy it sometime. :)

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    1. Natalie,
      Thank you so much! I can hardly explain exactly why, but it is one of my very favorite books in the whole world, and though I know it might not be everybody's exact cup of tea (Heidi, for instance, likes it, but it's not her Favorite Novel of All Time. :)), I'm so glad you think it sounds good. :) You can get a hardcover copy on Amazon for only four dollars (with shipping), so I guess that would be the easiest way to get it! I can't wait to hear what you think!

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    2. Great, thanks! I'll tell you if I get around to reading it! :)

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