Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Review for The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower
January 1067. Charismatic bishop Odo of Bayeux commissions a wall hanging, on a scale never seen before, to celebrate the conquest of Britain by his brother, William, Duke of Normandy. What he cannot anticipate is how utterly this will change his life-even more than the invasion itself.
His life becomes entangled with the women who embroider his hanging, especially Gytha-handmaiden to the fallen Saxon queen and his sworn enemy. But against their intentions, they fall helplessly in love. Friends become enemies, enemies become lovers; nothing in life or in the hanging is what it seems.
I was captivated by this story and The Needle in the Blood is the first historical fiction novel I have read about the Bayeux Tapestry. It has left me wanting to know more of it's history. I enjoyed the characters in Sarah's story and felt she did a wonderful job with the character building. I also felt her secondary characters really helped support this story and I enjoyed reading about their lives. I have to admit I'm not fond of reading a story in the present tense, but I feel Sarah pulled this off and I was intrigued with Sarah's explanation to me of why she wrote the book this way. She said the story is written this way because it's the way she "heard" the story coming to her. That on reflection she found it interesting as a means of making long distant history seem more immediate.
I recommend reading this story and hope that each reader finds a little something to come away with and would want to explore the history of this time period a little more. I rated this story three and a half stars.