Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Wicked and the Just

When I attended the Pacific Northwest Book Publishers Association fall trade show, I picked up an advance review copy of The Wicked and the Just by J. Anderson Coats.  It is being published in April, but can be pre-ordered on Amazon (see my Favorites at left for a link).

Anyone who enjoys Welsh and English history would enjoy The Wicked and the Just. Cecily longs to return home to Edgeley Hall, but due to her uncle’s marriage that seems an impossible dream. Instead she and her father move to Carnarvon, a fortress in Wales. Gwenhwyfar (apparently pronounced like Guinevere,) a Welsh serf girl, used to dream of being the Lady of the House and Caernarvon, but now she must wait on Cecily. And outside Caernarvon’s walls, trouble is brewing with the Welsh who are not as defeated as imagined.

This was an interesting read, showing the lives of two totally different people. The author did an excellent job switching from perspective to perspective, and also at portraying emotions. When I was reading from Cecily’s perspective, I felt as ignorant as she was of the rising Welsh, and when reading from Gwenhwyfar’s viewpoint I could feel all the tension in Wales. I found most of the characters endearing. The only thing I didn’t like was how Gwenhwyfar considered vengeance to be justice, and how she beat Cecily because she herself was beaten during her work, even though Cecily had never done more than mouth off to her. That was offset, however, when Gwenhwyfar's brother pointed out to her that “justice is not vengeance.” All in all a good book, one that made me think good and hard about some things.  Recommended for Young Adult readers.

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