Monday 2 January 2017


 Amazon UK  £3.19 / £9.99
Amazon US $3.94  / $14.25
Amazon CA $ n.a / $18.86

Adventure /Witchcraft

Hazel is a young girl who bears a mark associated with being a witch and is forced to flee her village. She falls in with a tinker and his family, but he robs and rapes her and she runs away again, only to become part of a group of professional beggars. But when she overhears a plan to sell her to a house of ill repute, she once more escapes. On her travels, she learns how to look after herself enough to keep herself alive - and then she comes across Black John, a notorious outlaw, who is about to be hanged. Hazel volunteers to marry him – she is already heavily pregnant by the tinker – as she learns that local custom will save John from the noose.

But who exactly is Black John and what secrets does he keep from her?

This appears to be a new imprint of a book which, the blurb says, was an award winner when first released in 1977. I can fully understand why. The two major characters are ably supported by a number of 'road folk' whose actions and dialogue are all perfectly believable and the ending is [no spoilers!] let’s just say ‘ unexpected’.

Despite a minimal number of typos, one 'line malfunction' and a rather incoherent cover in which Black John seems to be a young man whereas the author makes it quite clear that he is 'old enough to be her father', I thoroughly enjoyed this book and this review comes with a high recommendation.

©Richard Tearle  Discovering Diamonds
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  1. I think I've heard of this custom before, but don't recall reading a book about it.

  2. A compelling and gripping read from start to finish. Literary fiction at its finest. No wonder it won the Georgette Heyer award for best in romantic fiction. But be warned this is not chic littery fiction. A true romance story until the death.

    1. Thank you Toni - I don't get to read all the books submitted to us, but I think this one is definitely going on my TBR pile!

  3. Sounds interesting. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you for dropping by - I agree this is a good book!

  4. Rhona Martin fanned my historical fiction interest as she led the Novel Group of Tunbridge Wells Writers Circle. And her encouragement led to my first novel. sadly after her passing. RIP Rhona Martin.


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