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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (327 pages)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Lavender

The moving, tragic story of Charles I, the last absolute monarch of England, during his imprisonment in Carisbrooke Castle on the Isle of Wight. Richly drawn and inspired by the New York Times bestselling author’s own experience living on the Isle of Wight, this dramatic retelling brings to life the cavalier king whom Cromwell deposed. But even more fascinating than the account of royal hopes and misfortunes is the tale of a charming servant girl who is as romantic and tender in love as she is bold and resourceful in plotting the king’s escape.

If a king were in danger, what would you do to help him? Mary of Carisbrooke, a book by Margaret Campbell Barnes, addresses this question, and in quite an entertaining way. This book is a wonderful historical fiction with a touch of romance.

Mary is a quiet girl working in a castle when her king, Charles I of England, is brought there and imprisoned. Her character is memorable, fully fleshed out with a history, hopes, dreams, love and disappointment. She is so innocent but yet courageous, admirable for the actions she takes in the name of doing what she thinks is right. Some tragic things happen to Mary, and I kept turning pages to find out how she would get through them. Her first love comes into the picture and is developed with a surprising twist. Something unexpected happens.

The writing flows with elegance as the story unfolds. The setting of a mysterious castle is the perfect place for the themes of misfortune, courage, and hope to come about. Some things are universal, some human characters seen throughout the ages, and the author shows this while expertly holding on to the world of the seventeenth century. The characters are relatable. Sides are chosen. Some die for it. Others have their happy endings. Mary’s fate is surprising and pleasing.

Readers who know the history of Charles I of England know if the escape attempts are successful or not, but even with this knowledge, there is still great suspense in the story. What happens to those who help the king? Charles’s character is written well, giving a glimpse into his human side and inspiring a great empathy for him and his family.

With an intelligent and clear writing style, the story is timeless, a recommended read for fans of historical fiction with a dash of romance.