This was my first book in this series so I had fun figuring out some of the words, which I thought was neat. Maybe because some of my family no longer with us used some of the same words? And Hugh's herbal medicines would interested a lot of people today, I wonder myself if some of these remedies will work just as well as prescription medicines.
I felt bad that Hugh was on his own thinking that someone else murdered old atte Bridge, instead of him taking his own life. Well except Hugh's new wife that is. I enjoyed the love, and trust of this couple, and the dependence they had for each other. At least Hugh knew he could talk to his wife about his feelings about the murder when he didn't have anyone else to talk with.
This is a well written book set in this small town with characters that you grow to love and enjoy, some so humble, and some not so humble. Leaning about the 1366 culture was interesting, and I wouldn't a lot of people today love their primitive living. I really enjoyed this author's writing. As you read the book, you will see his own thoughts about different situations through the character Hugh. And Hugh and Kate is just a couple we all want living in our neighborhood!
I recommend this book to anyone that likes historical fiction, or really anyone that just likes a good read! Grab a copy to read and enjoy for yourself!
I received this book from Kregel Publications to participate in their blog tour. I was not required or expected to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are mine only.
In Mel Starr's fourth tale of Hugh de Singleton, medieval surgeon, Unhallowed Ground, we find our protagonist investigating the murder of one Thomas atte Bridge after this unlikable fellow is found hanging from a tree. While Master Hugh would like to believe the popular opinion that the victim took his own life, his finding of evidence to the contrary requires him to investigate his friends and neighbors to determine who took the life of their common enemy.
I enjoyed this book immensely. The story, which is written in the first person, pulled me in and helped me to understand the culture through the eyes of one of its inhabitants. A thorough glossary is included in the front of the book for assistance in understanding some of the more archaic terms that are used throughout the book. That is to say, the book is not only enjoyable but also educational. The story is also aided by a map in the front of the book that shows where locations in the book are in relation to each other.
One of the things that I enjoyed about the book was seeing the author's own modern-day thoughts expressed through the Master Hugh. Numerous times in the book the narrator explains a religious or other practice or belief and then offers his disagreement with the practice or belief. It is fascinating to see some aspects of the culture of 1366 and these comments helped to remind me that it is unrealistic to believe that the entire population agreed with all of what we would now consider primitive ideas.
Among other things, the book shows that Christ can change our hearts and that we must not assume that this fact applies only to ourselves. Master Hugh learns this lesson when he takes a long journey to find the man he is certain committed the murder only to find someone else entirely.
I was afraid that a book about a medieval surgeon would include descriptions of medical practices that I would rather not know about (or be reminded of), but this was not the case. While it did describe some medical procedures, I found the descriptions non-nightmare-inducing.
This is an excellent book and I encourage you to read it if you like mysteries and/or historical fiction.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Kregel Publications as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
"Unhallowed Ground" is the fourth book in the "Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton, Surgeon", however it is easily read as a stand-alone. This is the first of the series I have read, and I found no problems with starting at this point. There is enough information and character development that I could easily connect and not feel lost.
Taking place in 14th Century Bampton, England, "Unhallowed Ground" centers around Master Hugh de Singleton who is both a surgeon and bailiff to Sir Gilbert. Master Hugh is a walking contradiction because he's looked at with suspicion because of his job as bailiff and revered because of being a good surgeon. This makes for a very interesting protagonist.
Written in first person and being able to see through the eyes of Master Hugh was fascinating and made for a captivating and unforgettable story. When he sees Thomas atte Bridge hanging from the tree and studies him, he discovers that the apparent suicide is possibly not a suicide at all. As he continues his investigation, he discovers not only was Thomas atte Bridge a despicable man (worse than he originally knew), but he wrestles with the thought of possibly arresting a neighbor or "good" person who was involved in the murder.
Master Hugh is newly married and discusses this information with his wife, Kate. She is an intelligent woman who also noticed from the beginning that Thomas atte Bridge's death was not as it seemed. With each dead end Master Hugh would hit, Kate would be there as a sounding board and help him decide if it was worth continuing the investigation.
This book was an amazing read! I am so taken with the writing style of Mr. Starr, that I really want to read all the books in this series. He is truly a brilliant writer who seems to effortlessly bring to life 14th Century England. His prose and ability to describe in detail day-to-day life transports the reader back in time and allows one to actually feel like they are a part of that time period.
This book comes HIGHLY recommended!
I received a copy of this book from Kregel Publishers to read and honestly review.
I must admit I'm drawn to almost anything medieval, which is why I requested this book for touring on my blog.
I also must confess that I have NOT read the previous three offerings in the series.
But the concept of a 13th Century Surgeon cum Detective intrigued me, not to mention an endorsement from Davis Bunn, whose writing I really enjoy.
The back cover blurb further tickled my interest. the plot is good. Love the characters , and the setting, location and time period captured me. (It's my heritage) I also believe the author did an impeccable job with research, and presented his story with solidity and knowledge of his subject. Kudos!
Alas, the forward motion was . . . uh . . . a tortoise. It eventually got there, but plodded in too many places that tempted me to flip pages or set the book down. Not good.
Perhaps that's why most publishers limit series to just three. Having the same characters reappear through four+ books, the only thing that changes is the plot . . . again, not good. I have to say I'm disappointed.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Kregel Publications, and was asked to give my unbiased feedback on the book.