#BookReview Requiem For A Knave by Laura Carlin @HodderBooks

Requiem for a KnaveAbout the Book

After the death of his mother, young Alwin of Whittaker leaves the only home he has ever known to seek answers about his unknown father through a pilgrimage to the shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.

On the journey, Alwin falls in with a band of violent and marauding soldiers and is witness to their terrible crimes. When Alwin later joins up with a group of pilgrims, he must hide his identity…but he is not the only one with secrets to keep. Rosamund, a young woman travelling the same path, has much to conceal too.

The journey to discovering who he really is will lead Alwin into great danger and great passion. These are dark times, and through them, Alwin must shine a light.

Will the revelations to come destroy everything that came before?

Format: Hardcover, ebook (304 pages)   Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 6th February 2020     Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery

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My Review

The author skilfully inserts elements of surprise at various points in the story of Alwin’s search for answers about the identity of his father. However, asking questions can prove dangerous and as misadventures are visited upon the small band of pilgrims travelling to Walsingham, suspicions seem to point to one of their number being involved. But which one?

Alwin is drawn to fellow pilgrim, Rosamund, a young woman who is unusually independent-minded and opinionated for a woman of her time. In fact she attracts the antagonism of others for just such reasons alongwith the accusations of witchcraft often levelled at women with knowledge of healing. Her behaviour also causes Alwin to reflect extensively on the respective roles of men and women, what it means to be a man, and to ponder the received wisdom of the subservient position of women in society. (At times, the gender politics and examples of the mistreatment of women by men verged on the heavy handed for me.)

Soon Alwin discovers a growing alignment between his own purpose in making the journey and Rosamund’s search for justice – or is it retribution? Their initial mistrust of each other turns into friendship and mutual respect. When the truth is finally revealed it is both more horrific and more devastating personally for Alwin than could have been imagined.

Requiem For A Knave is part historical mystery, part love story that combines a wealth of period detail with exploration of issues with more contemporary relevance such as gender identity and sexual equality. Like the author’s first novel, The Wicked Comeththere is a great sense of atmosphere with the occasional touch of the gothic.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley.

In three words: Atmospheric, suspenseful, dramatic

Try something similar: Falling Creatures by Katherine Stansfield

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About the Author

Laura Carlin left school at sixteen to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction.

She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family and a very naughty cat. When she’s not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding countryside.

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