Some of you may remember Laura Libricz from my Interview with her on Historical Saturdays. I was lucky enough to catch up with her book this week and here is what I think of it:
The Hundred Year War is something that I somehow missed in history lessons in German school. I knew it was a big thing but I couldn’t remember much about it. I was delighted to come across a trilogy that takes on this important part of German history.
Additional bonus: Written by an American living in Germany, bringing in the often useful outsider perspective of an observer. The book is well researched and has a great blend of facts and fictional ‘illustration’. Plentiful details, adequate use of language and great characterisation are amongst many plus points.
I loved how quickly the predicament of our heroine unfolds. Tied to the wrong man who drinks and gambles and makes false promises, Katharina’s fate brings her under the authority of Master Tucher.
We follow her struggle to bring up a child, while all of Germany is in uproar and fighting between the warring parties begins.
Politics, religion, women’s rights and personal drama all blend together nicely in this wonderfully written novel. I am pleased to learn that this is only the beginning of a trilogy and look forward to the next part.
Well written, sound and enjoyable.
From my interview:
What in particular fascinates you about 17th Century Germany?
Germany in the early 17th century was inconveniently situated in the middle of a larger conflict. The period before and during the Thirty Years War is also well-researched and documented. But the history books are mostly written by learned men or men of the church. I feel a lot of those views are biased. Imagine what people will think in 400 years when they read what we are writing now! I wanted to portray what normal people, especially women, were thinking and feeling, how they lived and loved and what motivated them in the early modern period.
Tell us about the concept behind your books. How did you get the idea?
The Sichardtshof farm, the main setting in The Master and the Maid, was a real farm in Franconia, Germany from the 1300’s until its dismantling in the 1800’s. The area that it covered is still a haunting place that inspired me. I spent a lot of time there. The Heaven’s Pond story itself began with a type of fairy tale that I wrote in 2009. This tale became the core of the story of Isabeau, the main character in the whole of the Heaven’s Pond saga. And because I was not satisfied with just a short story, it turned into a three-book trilogy.
What song would you pick to go with your book?
The first book could be accompanied by the whole album Amnesiac by Radiohead.