Saturday, May 28, 2011

Winter Heart, by Margaret Frazer

Winter Heart (Sister Frevisse Medieval Mysteries)As the prioress of the priory, Domina Frevisse is required to make many important decisions, decisions which affect the sisters but also the people of the town.  When she is called upon to help rule on a man's guilt or innocence regarding the murder of a townsman, she must look carefully at the entire situation to determine the truth.  Why was with man killed, who would benefit from it, and were things perhaps not as they appeared to be?

This was my first exposure to medieval mystery, and I have to say, I was highly intrigued.  It took a little while to get into the story, as the type of language and pacing is a little different than a contemporary mystery novel, but once I adjusted my mindset, I flew through this book.  I was excited to see Domina Frevisse at work, to learn her line of reasoning and type of logic.  I really enjoyed her as a character.  We do not learn much about her personally in this book, but it is not necessary for us to feel a deep connection with her in order to appreciate her character.

I really loved the setting of this book, as it was so unique.  Medieval mysteries are a highly specified genre, and the only other author in the genre I am at all familiar with is Michael Jecks, so chances are readers who like his work will also like works by Frazer.  This story is one from a series starring Frevisse, but it also works well as a stand alone book for readers like me just getting acquainted with Frazer's work.

It took me a bit to get used to the authors style of writing.  I saw a lot of long complex sentences with several clauses.  Contemporary readers may find this type of sentence a bit more clear had it been broken down into two or three less complex sentences.  It halts the readers pace a bit, having to follow the sentence through multiple clauses and phrases, while continuing the line of thought.  However, once the reader gets further into the book, this becomes less noticeable.  Instead the reader focuses on the rich and entertaining plot.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and it had helped me open myself up to new genre of books to read.  I am curious about Frazer's other books, and plan to add more of them to my to be read list.

I received a review copy of the book courtesy of the author.