The Crown in the Heather by N. Gemini Sasson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It’s been a long while since I read historical fiction set in Scotland, although it is a favorite region. This book shows us the beginnings of Robert the Bruce’s rule, taking us right up through the Battle of Methven and hinting at what will come of his friendship with James, the Black Douglas.
Here we see Robert as the classic middle son, not favored by his father and struggling for recognition. The heartbreak of losing his first wife in childbirth, the love he finds with Elizabeth de Burgh, and the political intrigue that surrounds every move he makes are on plain display. The complicated dance between Robert and Edward I is never far from the reader’s awareness.
It’s clear that author N. Gemini Sasson has done her homework. She doesn’t show us a clean and tidy 14th century, but one filled with mud, disease, and battlefield gore. She understands both the English and Scottish sides of the picture and shows us flawed but believable people who all believe themselves to be in the right.
The book does leave readers on a bit of a cliffhanger (unless you know the history and thus what’s going to happen) because it’s part of a trilogy. Still, an enjoyable read and recommended for those with an interest in the era and the region.
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