Friday, August 29, 2014

Book Review: "Sinful Folk" by Ned Hayes

Sinful Folk Ned Hayes
Published: January 22, 2014
ISBN: 9780985239305
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: TLC Book Tours
Highly Recommended

In December of the year 1377, five children were burned to death in a suspicious house fire. A small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths. 

Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. 

For years, she has concealed herself and all her secrets. But in this journey, she will find the strength to claim the promise of her past and find a new future. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption. 

My Thoughts:
I'm a sucker for books set in Medieval England (my degree is in British Medieval History, so it kind of make me feel like I'm putting my degree to use).  This book sounded like it had it all--some sort of quest, a strong female (albeit disguised as a man) lead, and "triumph and redemption."

And, mostly, this book delivers.  I enjoyed reading about Mear and Hayes does a good job of meeting out her back story to the reader.  I was entertained by her companions as a group (there are moments of actual comedy found in this group!), but as individuals some of them melded together for me.

As for historical accuracy, Hayes hit the nail on the head.  There was nothing factual out of place with this book and I loved all the detail he weaves into the story.  If you want to read a book about how real (that is, not royal) people lived in Medieval England, this is a book for you.  He never shies away from the dirt and grime (literally and figuratively speaking) of the time period.

I did have a couple of quibbles, though.  I "solved" the mystery of this book long before I think Hayes would have liked me to.  I also had a hard time believing that Mear could go so long with these men in particular, but her village in general, without them discovering that she was not a man.  I also wish the Jewish aspect of the book had been brought more to the forefront as it is a crucial aspect of the whole story.

But, even with those minor drawbacks, I still really enjoyed this book and would readily recommend it to anyone who reads historical fiction.

About the Author:
Ned Hayes first read Chaucer in graduate school, where he worked under noted medieval scholar Richard Emmerson. He has studied at Stanford University, Western Washington University, the Rainier Writing Workshop and the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and two children. Sinful Folk is his first story set in the medieval era. He is now at work on a new novel set in the 1300s.

Find out more about Ned at his website, follow him on Twitter, and see what he’s pinning on Pinterest. You can also read more about the book at its website, follow news of the book on Facebook, get quotes from the book on Pinterest.

I received a copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

Want to know what others think of this book?  Check out the other stops on this tour!  (Links go to the blog, not the specific review).

Sunday, July 27th: You’ve GOTTA Read This!
Monday, August 4th: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book
Tuesday, August 5th: Words for Worms
Wednesday, August 6th: What She Read
Thursday, August 7th: M. Denise C.
Monday, August 11th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, August 13th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, August 14th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views
Monday, August 18th: Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, August 19th: nightly reading
Wednesday, August 20th: Unabridged Chick
Thursday, August 21st: Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, August 25th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, August 27th: BoundbyWords
Thursday, August 28th: Passages to the Past

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