Thursday 10 January 2019

A Discovering Diamonds review of For the Crown by Susan Appleyard

"For readers who want the history, Ms Appleyard is spot on for relating the customs and events of the periods she writes about"



Robbie, Bastard of Ovedale, is a warden of the East March of Scotland. Chasing Scottish raiders across the border is his life’s work and his love. On one such jaunt, he goes after a youth who has wounded his friend, only to discover that the youth is a girl, Mary Margaret Douglas. His mortification is complete when she renders him immobile by the application of pressure to a sensitive spot. Once he has regained control of the situation, he realises that his best option is to keep the red-haired virago with him until he can ransom her back to her family. The problem is her brothers don’t want her. That’s just one of the problems. Another is that Robbie is beginning to like her, but worst of all is the question of what to do with her now.
Robbie is summoned to war. He has to take the Scottish lass with him, but she is disruptive because she inspires the men to lust, including the despicable Lord Clifton who wants her for himself – at least for a week or two – and will stop at nothing, including murder, to get what he wants. Robbie’s father and his overlord, the Earl of Northumberland, want him to get rid of her, but it’s too late for that. Although he doesn’t know it, Robbie is falling in love.”

For readers who want the history, Ms Appleyard is spot on for relating the customs and events of the periods she writes about, her research iis well done, although I do have a slight worry about a certain Forest being mentioned in the 1490s, when it was actually planted in the 1920s, but perhaps the author knows more about the history of it than I do.

The unfolding events are entertaining and Robbie’s situation is amusing, but maybe the pace of the plot itself is a little on the ambling side? It took me a while to get into the story because of the historical detail: for me personally, I would have enjoyed the flow of the story rather than lingering on the 'facts'.  I came across the odd typo here and there, but those aside, I cannot fault the actual writing, nor the charm of the characters. 

Lovers of this period should enjoy the read.

© Ellen Hill

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