From JS Online, a review of "Hild" by Nicola Griffith:
Steeping us in the taste of seventh-century England's mead, the weight and warmth of its gorgeously woven and embroidered fabrics, and the myriad sights, sounds and scents of long ago, Seattle writer Nicola Griffith has created a marvel and a joy.
"Hild," the newest novel from this multiple award-winning author, takes place far from her works' previous settings: the future, an alien planet, or, in the case of her popular mystery series ("The Blue Place," "Stay," "Always"), contemporary Atlanta and Seattle. Historical fiction is new territory for Griffith. Yet through her seemingly effortless prose, the forts, farms, woods and battlefields of medieval Northumbria become deeply real to readers. Though never completely comfortable.
"Hild" is filled with matter-of-fact accounts of the life of the past. Some are disturbing: the routine prevalence of death in childbirth; the shocking brutality of combat wounds — guts on the ground, yellow fat and red bones disappearing in a welter of blood. Some are surprising challenges to our modern take on medieval history, such as the presence of black people in European trading towns and ecclesiastical missions.
From the Wall Street Journal, a review of James Forrester's "The Final Sacrament" (final instalment in the Clarenceux trilogy, the other two books being "Sacred Treason" and "The Roots of Betrayal"):
"The Final Sacrament" brings to a close his trilogy about William Harley, loosely based on a real figure, who holds the post of Clarenceux King of Arms, the member of the College of Heralds charged with authenticating noble genealogies.
Clarenceux's previous adventures left him precariously trusted and protected by Lord Cecil, Elizabeth's Secretary of State. But on June 19, 1566, the situation changed, with the birth of a son (later James VI of Scotland and I of England) to Mary, Queen of Scots. His Catholic parents and Catholic baptism gave new hope to those who wished to overturn the Protestant Reformation. Things changed again eight months later with the murder of James's father, Lord Darnley. "The Final Sacrament" is set between the two dates, a point of dangerous instability.
From Pendle Today, a review of Alison Weir's "Elizabeth of York":
If Sir Thomas More was ‘a man for all seasons,’ then the female equivalent was surely Elizabeth of York. Daughter of a Plantagenet king, wife of the king who founded the Tudor dynasty and mother of the larger-than-life King Henry VIII, this was the woman whose marriage ended the bitter Wars of the Roses.
Alison Weir’s comprehensive, compelling and very readable portrait of Elizabeth reveals not just her life and times but the woman behind the myth, the queen respected by her husband, adored by her son and revered by the nation.
(External reviews are not an endorsement by Melisende's Library)