Thursday 5 January 2017

A HOUSE DIVIDED by Margaret Skea

AMAZON UK £3.59 / £7.32
AMAZON US $4.61 / $10.08
AMAZON CA $ n.a / $14.19

Family Saga
16th century
Series #2

It is always a bit of a gamble to pick up the second book in a series without having read the first. As a reader, I worry that maybe there will be a lack of backstory, leaving me stumbling about in the dark for a while before the new story picks up pace. Ms Skea has obviously considered this, and accordingly this book is an excellent stand-alone read.

When the novel opens, Kate Munro has been living under an assumed name for six years. Her husband is in France, fighting for Henri IV of France – well, Kate hopes he is; she hasn’t heard from him in years, and in this time and age death can surprise a man at any time. Other than worrying for her husband, Kate has other concerns – like how to keep her children alive. She works as a healer and is constantly nervous that someone will recognise her.

Over the first few chapters, the reason for this stunted life is presented. The Munro family is a victim of the ongoing bloody feud between the Cunninghames and the Montgomeries, and in a desperate attempt to save his family from certain death, Adam Munro fled abroad, leaving his wife and children behind. Ultimately, of course, someone does recognise Kate, and so begins a somewhat nerve-wracking story which has this reader flipping pages long into the night.

Set in sixteenth century Scotland, this is a vivid description of life back then, complete with political intrigue, a rather sympathetic King James VI and a vindictive William Cunninghame. Historical detail is inserted with finesse, historical people pop in and out, adding a dash of colour to a complicated weave centred round Kate and the accusations of witchcraft that threaten her very life.

Ms Skea is an accomplished writer. Her descriptive writing brings her settings to vibrant life, complete with sounds, texture and smells. Her dialogue has pace and flow, with enough Scots added to give flavour, but not so much as to threaten comprehension. Add this to a compelling plot and well-developed characters, and you have a gripping, fantastic read!

©Anna Belfrage Discovering Diamonds
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  1. I love the layout of this site - very clear and easy to navigate. And some great touches - for example the map showing where visitors come from.

    1. thanks Margaret - I love the flag map as well!


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