Throwback Thursday: The Scribe’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill

ThrowbackThursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk.  It’s designed as an opportunity to share old favourites as well as books that we’ve finally got around to reading that were published over a year ago.

Today I’m revisiting a book I reviewed in 2017, The Scribe’s Daughter by Stephanie Churchill, which was published in August 2015. Awarding The Scribe’s Daughter one of its coveted Discovered Diamond badges, the Discovering Diamonds reviewer said, “If you like George R.R. Martin and Sarah J. Maas, this is absolutely for you. Definitely a brilliant diamond of a discovery!”

The Scribe’s Daughter was followed by The King’s Daughter in September 2017.  Whilst the first book focuses on the adventures of Kassia, The King’s Daughter brings the reader the story from the viewpoint of her older sister, Irisa.   Unfortunately, The King’s Daughter hasn’t yet reached the top of my author review pile, although it’s sitting in third place so not long now! I’m really looking forward to reading it.

And the good news is that Stephanie Churchill is working on a third book, as yet untitled, featuring one of the characters from The King’s Daughter who proved particularly fascinating to readers.


TheScribesDaughterAbout the Book

Kassia is a thief and a soon-to-be oath breaker. Armed with only a reckless wit and sheer bravado, seventeen-year-old Kassia barely scrapes out a life with her older sister in a back-alley of the market district of the Imperial city of Corium. When a stranger shows up at her market stall, offering her work for which she is utterly unqualified, Kassia cautiously takes him on. Very soon however, she finds herself embroiled in a mystery involving a usurped foreign throne and a vengeful nobleman. Most intriguing of all, she discovers a connection with the disappearance of her father three years prior.

When Kassia is forced to flee her home, suffering extreme hardship, danger and personal trauma along the way, she feels powerless to control what happens around her. Rewarding revelations concerning the mysteries of her family’s past are tempered by the reality of a future she doesn’t want. In the end, Kassia discovers an unyielding inner strength and that, contrary to her prior beliefs, she is not defined by external things – she discovers that she is worthy to be loved.

Format: ebook (302 pp.)                Publisher:
Published: 25th August 2015         Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, YA

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk  ǀ  Amazon.com  |
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find The Scribe’s Daughter and The King’s Daughter on Goodreads


My Review

The Scribe’s Daughter is an exciting, action-packed adventure story set in a fictional imagined world.  Although not specified, the time period has the feel of the medieval and I imagined the story taking place somewhere in the countries around the Mediterranean.

Kassia is a sparky, feisty heroine.  She’s a tomboy when we first meet her, brave if a little reckless.  Kassia has need to be brave, though, because her father disappeared three years after failing to return from a trip, and she has to look after her sister, Irisa, and somehow find a way for them to survive.  Although suspicious of the stranger who turns up offering her handsome payment in return for repairing a piece of jewellery, Kassia decides it is better than the undesirable alternatives on offer.  This decision will have consequences for both Kassia and her sister.

Carrying out the task takes Kassia out of the city of Corium and it soon becomes apparent that someone is out to get her (for unknown reasons) but that others are out to protect her (for equally unknown reasons).    A story that has started out fairly light suddenly gets darker as we see that Kassia is not immune from the dangers facing a woman travelling alone.   I did find this part of the book surprisingly unsettling.  Kassia’s  terrible experiences will scar her physically and emotionally, making her unwilling to trust anyone and leave her seeing herself as damaged and unworthy of another’s love.

Many adventures and strange new places await Kassia and the group of fellow travellers she encounters.  She learns surprising things about her past that cast her in a new and unwelcome role.  Can she be more than a pawn in a political game or a chattel to be negotiated over and possessed? Will she eventually be able to trust someone with her heart?  The author skilfully brings Kassia’s story to a satisfying conclusion but leaves strands to be picked up and woven into a new story in The King’s Daughter.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author in return for an honest review.

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In three words: Entertaining, action-packed, lively

Try something similar…The Du Lac Chronicles by Mary Anne Yarde


StephanieChurchillAbout the Author

When Stephanie was a child, she was curious about everything, particularly as it related to “old stuff.” And because in those days there was no internet, when she was bored or wanted to learn something new about history or anything else, she could be found sitting on the floor at home reading an encyclopaedia. Her fondest memories are of wandering her grandparents’ farm in rural Nebraska, daydreaming and telling herself fairy tales, usually with a medieval twist.

Upon reaching adulthood, Stephanie developed a love of reading history and historical fiction.  But never once did it occur to her to become a writer.  Working in the field of law instead, it took a nudge from her favourite author suggesting that she try her hand at becoming an author.

Evoking the essence of historical fiction but without the history, Stephanie’s writing draws on her knowledge of history even while set in purely fictional places existing only in her imagination.  Filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal, her writing relies on deeply drawn and complex characters, exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.  Her unique blend of historical fiction and fantasy ensures that her books are sure to please fans of historical fiction or epic fantasy literature alike.

Connect with Stephanie

Website  ǀ   Facebook  | Twitter ǀ  Goodreads

 

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WWW Wednesdays – 23rd May ‘18

 

WWWWednesdays

Hosted by Taking on a World of Words, this meme is all about the three Ws:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

Why not join in too?  Leave a comment with your link at Taking on a World of Words and then go blog hopping!


Currently reading

The Last DayThe Last Day by Claire Dyer (paperback, review copy courtesy of The Dome Press)

They say three’s a crowd but when Boyd moves back into the family home with his now amicably estranged wife, Vita, accompanied by his impossibly beautiful twenty-seven-year-old girlfriend, Honey, it seems the perfect solution: Boyd can get his finances back on track while he deals with his difficult, ailing mother; Honey can keep herself safe from her secret, troubled past; and Vita can carry on painting portraits of the pets she dislikes and telling herself she no longer minds her marriage is over.

But the house in Albert Terrace is small and full of memories, and living together is unsettling.  For Vita, Boyd and Honey love proves to be a surprising, dangerous thing and, one year on, their lives are changed forever.

War Girl UrsulaWar Girl Ursula (War Girl #1) by Marion Kummerow (ebook, review copy courtesy of the author)

Berlin 1943: Compassion is a crime.

A prisoner escapes. A guard looks the other way. Why does Ursula Hermann risk her life and brave the Gestapo to save a man she barely knows?

Ursula has always lived the law, never broken the rules in her life. That is until the day she finds escapee British airman Tom Westlake and all the right she’s worked so hard to maintain goes wrong… He runs. And she does nothing to stop him.

Torn with guilt about what she did, Ursula battles with her decision when suddenly Tom returns, injured and pleading for her help.   This is her opportunity to make things right. But shadows from the past tug at her heart, convincing her to risk everything, including her life, in order to protect a man from the nation her country is fighting.

As they brave the perils and dangers of the ever-present Gestapo, will Ursula find a way to keep Tom safe? Or will being on the opposite sides of the war ultimately cost both of them their lives?


Recently finished (click on title for review)

The Cliff HouseThe Cliff House by Amanda Jennings (eARC, NetGalley)

Cornwall, summer of 1986.   The Davenports, with their fast cars and glamorous clothes, living the dream in a breathtaking house overlooking the sea.

If only… thinks sixteen-year-old Tamsyn, her binoculars trained on the perfect family in their perfect home.  If only her life was as perfect as theirs.  If only Edie Davenport would be her friend.  If only she lived at The Cliff House…

Amanda Jennings weaves a haunting tale of obsession, loss and longing, set against the brooding North Cornish coastline, destined to stay with readers long after the final page is turned.

The Biographies of Ordinary People, Vol.2The Biographies of Ordinary People, Vol. 2 by Nicole Dieker (eARC courtesy of the author)

Millennial-era Little Women that follows three sisters from 1989 to the present.

The Biographies of Ordinary People is the story of the Gruber family: Rosemary and Jack, and their daughters Meredith, Natalie, and Jackie. The two-volume series begins in July 1989, on Rosemary’s thirty-fifth birthday; it ends in November 2016, on Meredith’s thirty-fifth birthday.

The second volume follows the three Gruber sisters as they each leave their rural Midwestern hometown and try to make their way in the larger world. Meredith is determined to pursue a career in the theater. Natalie begins sorting and filing for an insurance company. Jackie… well, Jackie still wants to sing, and if the classical music world isn’t interested in what she can do, she’ll figure out how to do it on her own.

Set against the Great Recession, Presidents Obama and Trump, and a growing sense of national unrest, this final volume explores Meredith’s question: is it possible for ordinary people to make art? It also takes us into the close emotional connections between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends, and the people we choose to love as adults.

I Will Find YouI Will Find You (Seal Island #2) by Daniela Sacerdoti  (eARC courtesy of Headline)

After her mother dies, grief-stricken Cora discovers she has been left a cottage, a crumbling shelter on a mysterious Scottish island. The moment Cora arrives on the windswept isle of Seal, she falls under its spell and is drawn to brooding Innes, back on the island to confront his past.

As Cora begins to trace her mother’s roots, she learns Gealach Cottage has a dark, turbulent history. Another young woman has sought refuge here, fleeing terrible danger, and waiting for her lover to return. What became of her? Only by unravelling a forgotten story of passion and courage can Cora understand what has pulled her to Seal…and led her to a man of many secrets.

That Summer in PugliaThat Summer in Puglia by Valeria Vescina (paperback, review copy courtesy of Eyewear Publishing and Bookollective)

Tommaso has escaped discovery for thirty years but a young private investigator, Will, has tracked him down. Tommaso asks him to pretend never to have found him. To persuade Will, Tommaso recounts the story of his life and his great love. In the process, he comes to recognise his true role in the events which unfolded, and the legacy of unresolved grief. Now he’s being presented with a second chance – but is he ready to pay the price it exacts?


What Cathy (will) Read Next

A Lost Lady of Old YearsA Lost Lady of Old Years by John Buchan (ebook)

Set in Scotland in 1745, during the Jacobite Rebellion, this dark story of loyalty and betrayal on the road to Culloden Moor recounts the adventures of Francis Birkenshaw. The Jacobite cause means nothing to him until a chance meeting with the beautiful Margaret Murray presents an opportunity for profit and adventure. The fateful encounter marks the beginning of Francis’s involvement with John Murray of Broughton, an infamous traitor and turncoat.

WaltScott_Sugar MoneySugar Money by Jane Harris (hardcover)

Martinique, 1765, and brothers Emile and Lucien are charged by their French master, Father Cleophas, with a mission. They must return to Grenada, the island they once called home, and smuggle back the 42 slaves claimed by English invaders at the hospital plantation in Fort Royal. While Lucien, barely in his teens, sees the trip as a great adventure, the older and worldlier Emile has no illusions about the dangers they will face. But with no choice other than to obey Cleophas – and sensing the possibility, however remote, of finding his first love Celeste – he sets out with his brother on this ‘reckless venture’.