Monday, January 6, 2014

My take on: The Scribe

"If Theresa had been feebleminded or sickly, she might have understood the decision. Bet she was an attractive young woman -- perhaps a little skinny for the tastes of Frankish boys -- but with wide hips and generous breasts, not to mention a full set of teeth, as white as they come. Anyone else in her position would have sought a good husband to knock her up and keep her. But no, Theresa had to throw away her youth, shut away in some old priests' workshop..." Pg. 2

Only two pages in and I already liked Theresa. In 799 Theresa is a rare woman. She can read and and she can write. Her father, Gorgias, taught his daughter everything he knew. Instead of accepting society's norms, Theresa fought against them. She's gearing up for a big test, a test not just of her skills as a parchment maker but a test of her mental strength. The men in the town don't make it easy for a woman like Theresa. The road to her big test is full of obstacles.

Gorgias has recently been tasked with translating an important document. It sounded like the type of document someone would kill for. While taking his daughter to her test, Gorgias is violently attacked. A copy of the document he was working on has been stolen. Is it a coincidence? What is so important about this document? Is it worth killing someone? There is a definite air of mystery about this document. Should Theresa postpone her test? Or should she continue? Of course she continues!! The start of the test itself was rather grotesque!! I had to stop eating while I was reading that part. You'll have to read the book to know what I'm talking about!!

A devastating fire tears Theresa and her family apart. She is blamed for everything, despite a lack of evidence. Just a few words and it's enough to sully Theresa's character. She is forced to live as a fugitive. She has to rely on strangers and on the skills that her father taught her. Alcuin, a monk, comes to Theresa's aid, helping her in her quest to become a scribe. Alcuin also has ties to King Charlemagne. Perhaps Theresa can use this to her advantage! Is there some connection between her father and King Charlemagne? Did he hire her father to write this mysterious document? If Theresa can unravel the mystery, perhaps she can reunite her family.

Garrido's research and attention to to detail is evident throughout the book. The societal norms and political and religious strife of the times comes through. At 500+ pages the book is bit too long for my tastes. But as a lover of historical fiction, Garrido definitely held my attention throughout.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy from Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review.

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