Tuesday, May 23, 2017

G856 Book Review of Under the approaching dark by Anna Belfrage

Name of Book: Under the Approaching Dark

Author: Anna Belfrage

ISBN: 978-1-78803-509-5

Publisher: Matador Books

Type of book: England, Edward III, 1327-1328, medieval life, marriage, relationships, family, loyalty, revenge, secrets, Queen Isabella, Roger Mortimer, power,

Year it was published: 2017


Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II is forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over.

After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster.

In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much.

When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers.


Main characters include Kit and Adam, a married couple. Adam is a minor knight who has confidence of Lord Roger Mortimer, while Kit is an illegitimate daughter of Thomas de Montmouth. Both are brave, resourceful and worship the ground one another walks on. I have to say that I admire their marriage and love them as a couple. Other characters include Lord Roger Mortimer and Queen Isabella who are dangerously drawn to one another, then Edward III Queen Isabella's son who is chafing at the control his mother exhibits over him, Geofrey de Boseley, Hugh Despenser's former man who wants revenge, Kit's half sister Alicia and so forth. I understand its 14th century and that the names are common, but I had trouble with some of the characters and remembering their personalities because they had similar names to one another. The characters are all drawn well and somehow the story is more believable than unbelievable.


Life goes on


The story is in third person narrative from Adam's and Kit's point of view. In my opinion, historical details are nicely done because they aren't overwhelming to a reader but when she does use them, they add more dimension to the story and it's as if the reader lives in 14th century with Adam and Kit. I do think that there are a bit too much sexual scenes, and sometimes I wished that the years would have been marked a bit clearly because I wasn't sure how much time has passed between last winter and next winter so to speak.

Author Information:
(From the book)

When Anna is not stuck in the 14th century, chances are she'll be visiting int he 17th century, more specificially with Alex and Matthew Graham, the protagonists of the best-selling, multiple award winning series The Graham Saga. This series is the story of two people who should never have met- not when she was born three centuries after him. A fast-paced blend of love, drama and adventure, The Graham Saga will carry you from Scotland tot he New World and back again.

For more information about Anna and her books, please visit www.annabelfrage.com or pop by her blog https://annabelfrage.wordpress.com


Prior to reading three of her The King's Greatest Enemies series, I've only read one book by her in the Graham Saga which I've found to be sweet and well-written, but it wasn't able to capture my attention as I hoped. (Guess I'm not big on time travel, unfortunately.)  These series, however, are a completely different breed than to Graham Saga. They captured me, kept me reading and wondering what is going in the story. The series is perfect for those who are only starting out in historical fiction because a lot of focus is on the couple, Kit and Adam and historical detail isn't overwhelming. What is also neat is the showing of daily life through seasons and passage of time which means the reader will not overwhelmed and can relax as the author makes 14th century history to be clear for any reader. Yes, I do feel that previous two books are necessary to be read, but they add more to enjoyment of the story rather than detract it. Also, a quick note, but I feel that I can at last understand the cause and reason for 100 Years War.

This is for HFVBT

4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)

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