The thoughts of a girl...

The thoughts of a girl...

The Marsh King's Daughter by Elizabeth Chadwick - Review

Posted: 03 Aug 2012 10:45 PM PDT

The Synopsis - Unwanted and unloved, Miriel Weaver finds herself forced into a closed convent by her violent stepfather. Outside, the civil war of 1216 rages through the English countryside, throwing into jeopardy all that its people hold dear. As the turmoil outside reaches a peak, Miriel itches to break free from her life inside as a religious novice. She plots to escape but her plans screech to a halt when a soldier of fortune, a half-dead Nicholas de Caen appears at the convent door. Once held captive by royalist troops, he has managed to escape their clutches with part of the royal regalia, but his flight has sapped all life from him. Miriel nurses him with the vigor she has had suppressed in her imprisonment, and revives Nicholas, in whom she recognizes her own stubborn pride and independence. He is not only her kindred spirit, he is also her only way out. So upon his recovery and release, Miriel coerces her former patient into taking her with him. 

Never one for nostalgia, Miriel has only seen Nicholas as a means of escape, and once out of the convent, the two part on bad terms. From this point forward, misfortune will plague Miriel's life until she runs into a new Nicholas, this time a famous soldier and merchant. Can the two now see past their pride and into each other's souls, formerly one and the same? Or have the ravages of a bloody war clouded their sight? 

The Cover - I like this cover. My favourite thing about it is definitely the colour scheme. The whole greeny-orangey-peachy look is really working for me, and that dress would make an amazing Halloween costume!

The Review - This is the second Elizabeth Chadwick novel that I've read this year, and I honestly went into it with more than a little bit of trepidation. I read another of her books, The Greatest Knight, and while I did like it, I felt like it draaaagged on a bit too much to really be enjoyable. So I was hoping that I would like The Marsh King's Daughter a lot more. Luckily, I did! 

While this book is very much of a slower pace than most of the novels I usually read, it was honestly a nice change for me. Chadwick is obviously a very character-driven writer, and her stories reflect that. I love a good character based book, and the fact that there is actually a kernel of truth at the base of this one made it even more interesting! 

Focusing on the intersecting lives of medieval lovers Miriel Weaver and Nicholas de Caen, Chadwick weaves an intricate tapestry of intrigue, mystery, treasure, murder, love, and ingenuity, making for a full and absorbing tale. The one thing that I didn't understand about this novel, though, was the title! I mean, it may seem obvious to some, but where did the whole 'marsh king's daughter' thing come from? I know that the marsh played an integral part in the story, but still... I guess that reference is lost on me! 

The Marsh King's Daughter is a slow-paced and well developed narrative, filled with more than enough scheming and intrigue to hold your interest the entire time, and lead by an extremely likable,  shrewd heroine. Reading this book has showed me that I should always be willing to to give an author a second go, and I am very glad that I did.

An engrossing read. 3.5 Roses!