The Siege Winter
by Ariana Franklin
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: William Morrow
Publication date: 2/24/2015
England, 1141. The countryside is devastated by a long civil war as the English king, Stephen, and his cousin, the Empress Matilda, battle for the crown. . . .
Emma is the eleven-year-old redheaded daughter of a peasant family. When mercenaries pass through their town, they bring with them a monk with a deadly interest in young redheaded girls. Emma is left for dead in a burned-out church until Gwil, an archer, finds her by chance. Gwil takes Emma with him, dressing her as a boy to avoid attention. Emma becomes Penda—and Penda turns out to have a killer instinct with a bow and arrow.
Maud is the fifteen-year-old chatelaine of Kenniford, a small but strategically important castle she’s determined to protect. But when Maud provides refuge for the empress, Stephen’s armies lay siege to Kenniford Castle. Aided by a garrison of mercenaries—including Gwil and his odd, redheaded apprentice—they must survive a long winter under siege. It’s a brutal season that brings everyone to Kenniford—including the sinister monk who has never stopped hunting the redheaded girl. . . .
Historical Fiction is one of a few genres that I truly enjoy to review and Ariana Franklin is up there as one of my all time favorite authors. She wrote the Mistress of the Art of Death series which I consumed one right after the other, I was addicted really! So when I saw this one at the library I automatically was drawn to pick it up and bring it home with me, "Even if she wrote it with someone else", I thought. Little did I know that Franklin died while working on this book and her daughter, the other author, who's influence on the book I was dreading is in fact Franklin's daughter, Samantha Norman, who finished the book after her mom died. I also soon discovered that Samantha inherited her mom's writing genes because I couldn't tell where Franklin's writing ended and Norman's started it was very seamless in its flow, which is not an easy task to accomplish. Wonderful characters and settings with everything researched well, as all good historical fiction is, so everything was very authentic! There is a lot of heartbreak in this book but all so a great deal of strength and love, all ingredients to a spectacular read!
I Give It:
About the Authors
British journalist Diana Norman also writes as Ariana Franklin.
Born Mary Diana Narracott, she grew up first in London and then in Devon, where her mother took her to escape the blitz. At the age of 15, she left school, but with journalism in her background (her father had been a Times correspondent)and her hardy intelligence, the lack of formal education proved no barrier and by 17 she was n London, working on a local newspaper in the East End.
Headhunted at 20 by the Daily Herald, Norman became the youngest reporter on Fleet Street, covering royal visits, donning camouflage to go on exercise with the Royal Marines, and missing her 21st birthday party because she was covering a murder on the south coast. When she protested about this to the news editor, she was told: "Many happy returns. Now get down to Southampton." Diana Norman became, at twenty years of age, the youngest reporter on what used to be Fleet Street.
She married the film critic Barry Norman in 1957, and they settled in Hertfordshire with their two daughters. She began writing fiction shortly after her second daughter was born. Her first book of fiction, Fitzempress's Law, was chosen by Frank Delaney of BBC Radio 4's Bookshelf as the best example of a historical novel of its year. She is now a freelance journalist, as well as a writer of biographies and historical novels.
She died at the age of 77 on January 27, 2011. She was best known for her historical crime series featuring the 12th-century medical examiner Adelia Aguilar, written under the pen name of Ariana Franklin. The first book in the series, Mistress of the Art of Death, was published to critical acclaim in 2007 and won the Ellis Peters Historical Dagger award in the UK, as well as prizes in the US and Sweden.
Norman is survived by her husband, their daughters, Samantha and Emma, and three grandsons.
Samantha Norman began working life in publishing as a junior editor in children's books before moving in to freelance journalism. She became variously a boxing correspondent, feature writer, travel writer, theatre critic, film critic and showbusiness columnist for most national newspapers and magazines before falling in to television where she worked as a presenter for many years. Nowadays, as well as writing, she is an interviewer for Celebrity Productions, specifically their Audience With ... series.
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The books reviewed here have either been sent to me free of charge, or borrowed from my sister or the library, or they were bought (it is an addiction really). However, my reviews have never been, nor will ever be, affected by whether a book’s a freebie or not. A review is just one person’s opinion. It’s always best to check out a book for yourself.