I'm so glad to have discovered Elizabeth Chadwick. Her
novel, SHADOWS AND STRONGHOLDS delivers a vivid view of life
in mediaeval England. The story centers on Brunin FitzWarin,
the quiet son of a lord, as he grows from squire to knight,
but the plot encompasses the larger conflicts and dangers of
a divided kingdom.
Ten-year-old Brunin, long cowed by his bitter and
controlling grandmother, is sent to the de Dinan keep to
serve as a squire. His father hopes his good friend can
bring out the best in Brunin. De Dinan and his family
provide the support and the skills Brunin needs, but he can
only find the courage within himself.
Chadwick's rich descriptions make it easy to picture life in
12th century England, a country divided by a struggle over
the monarchy. For Brunin, the conflict means a constant
battle over who has the right to the castle and lands where
he grew up. Every character is crisply defined, from
Brunin's mild mother, to a rival lord's squires who delight
in tormenting the boy, to the diversity of the de Dinan
SHADOWS AND STRONGHOLDS is a real gem for readers who enjoy
historical novels and romances.
Ten-year-old Brunin FitzWarin is an awkward misfit in his
own family. As an act of encouragement, his father sends him
to be fostered as a knight in the household of Joscelin,
Lord of Ludlow. Here he meets the lord's youngest daughter,
Hawise, and a strong friendship is formed.
When Brunin aids his lord in supporting Prince Henry in his
battle against King Stephen for the English crown, his own
land comes under threat. As the war for the crown and the
land rages, Brunin must defeat the shadows of his childhood
and put to use all he has learned, confronting his future