Book review: Wildewood Revenge by B.A. Morton

Wildewood RevengeWildewood Revenge by B.A. Morton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a book I highly recommend for lovers of historical romance who like their romance to fit into a story of adventure, action, mystery and…time travel.

This was a good read, more in the style of historical romance than fantasy adventure, which is what I imagined it would be. I mistakenly thought Grace was a teenager to begin with, and found her relationship with Miles a little bit disturbing until I realised she was in fact much older. Once that point was cleared up I found Grace a great character, strong, but not brainlessly spunky. She is consistent in the way she behaves and sticks to her guns throughout.
Miles is a perfect mate, good to look at and with an air of mystery about him that keeps him from being a cardboard cut out knight in shining armour. The descriptions of the wintry forest are very convincing, and I had no difficulty visualising the scenes. The action is circumscribed and the cast of characters is limited so the reader’s attention is concentrated on a small area, more like a theatre production than a film. Put me in mind of Robert Bolt’s The Lion in Winter.
The period details are well researched creating a convincing slice of life in Norman England. The language is well chosen and the dialogues are convincing, even though the one flaw for me in this piece of writing was the language. It was always going to be a problem, the moment you have a woman from the 21st century landing in 13th century England—Miles and Grace wouldn’t have been able to understand one another. Miles would have spoken Norman French, quite different from modern French, and Edmund and the English characters would have spoken Early Middle English.
That said, language is a hobbyhorse of mine, so my problem, and who wants to read a story written in Middle English anyway? I probably wouldn’t have even thought of it if Grace hadn’t drawn attention to the fact in her first efforts at conversation with Miles and Edmund.
The story ends in a cliff hanger, it’s true, but I didn’t find that a let-down. It’s obvious there’s a sequel, and the final chapters of the story create quite enough drama and leave quite enough loose ends to make the reader immediately start searching the Internet for the next installment.

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Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

2 thoughts on “Book review: Wildewood Revenge by B.A. Morton”

  1. I always worry about language in a book involving time travel. Sometimes, I think they best way to tackle this is to have some kind of automatic thing that syncs the character’s language to everyone else’s so it’s understandable. I mean, no one wants to read a book in Old English. I tried to once and put it down because I found it so frustrating.

  2. Many fantasy writers don’t worry at all when different beings/species meet and they all speak modern English. In fantasy you can usually get away with it, either by ignoring it or, as you say by having an artificial ‘thingy’ that allows people to understand one another. But in time travel stories you have a problem in that we know how people spoke at a given time, and it wasn’t the language we use now. Maybe a way round it is to have a ‘thingy’ that happens to everybody who travels through time, that our brains have a sort of ancestral understanding of the language of our ancestors and so after a short while to get it into gear, the memory of it kicks in.
    In the case of Wildewood it doesn’t intrude. It is such a good story, and Grace and Miles are such great characters that after the initial surprise, the fact that everybody speaks a comprehensible English isn’t a problem. They are a couple meant for one another, so it’s normal they would speak the same language.

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