The de Lacy Inheritance by Elizabeth Ashworth
|The de Lacy Inheritance by Elizabeth Ashworth|
|Genre: Historical Fiction|
|Reviewer: Elaine Dingsdale|
|Summary: Returning from the Crusades, Richard's life is blighted by leprosy, which means that he has to be cast out from his family, and lead the life of a hermit. He does this with good grace, but first must try to persuade his grandmother's cousin that he should leave his family his estates in his will. Challenging times face the charismatic protagonist and his family.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 280||Date: June 2010|
|Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd|
Set in England in 1192, the novel is full of details of life in this period, and resists the temptation to get overtly bogged down in excessive political detail, which makes this a very accessible read to those (like myself) who are not too knowledgeable about this particular historical period. Returning from the Crusades, Richard is forced to leave his family and atone for the sins which he believes has lead to him being afflicted with leprosy. Undertaking a quest to his grandmother's nearby cousin (who is childless, so grandmother wants Richard to present her case for inheriting his lands), Richard finds refuge here. This point struck me as odd - almost jarring in it's unlikelihood. Not only does Richard find help/support/refuge here (whilst remaining unknown to all except the cousin and his wife), but he's virtually welcomed with open arms. Would an itinerant leper be treated in this way? It did add a note of discord to the narrative - as if the quest for inheritance was more important that his trials as a leper.
However, it was a 'ripping yarn'! Perhaps not too much in the way of excitement and action - but with a certain underlying suspense which makes the reader keen to learn the fate, not just of Richard, but of his family too. Although Richard is well characterised, the remaining family members are somewhat nebulous: the much maligned Roger (the younger brother who becomes head of the family when Richard is ostracised) is in particular, badly depicted. We learn that he is cruel and evil - and not much more! No details are given as to what form this cruelty takes - other than the fact that he teased his sister when younger - a pretty common family problem, one would imagine! Certainly, some more details/background information on Roger, and sister Joanna,(the latter plays a pivotal role in the narrative,) would have been welcomed. It would have lead to a lengthier novel - but the plot was sufficiently strong to enable this to have been perfectly practical.
Nonetheless, overall this was an interesting and well narrated novel. The conclusion was satisfying-although, again, perhaps oversimplified, with Roger changing chameleon-like from the bad guy to satisfied leader of the clan! Based in part, on historical, real characters, it'll be interesting to see if the author follows this up with another instalment - there's certainly enough potential, and unanswered questions to do so.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.
If this boook appeals then you might also enjoy Rebel Heiress by Fiona Mountain.
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