Whoot! I read books! Actually, I’ve been reading a fair few books and stories, but I haven’t really been talking about them much. When I gave up on book blogging, I did so partially because I’d burned out on it. I picked it up again because I thought I’d rested and healed enough. I thought I’d figured out what had caused my to burn out on it and could handle it if I just made changes. Turns out I was wrong about that. I’ve been book blogging again since March and it’s already left me back at the point where I was when I quit initially. Clearly, more things need to change. I’m not quite sure how to do that yet, but we’ll see. For now, I’m catching up on the burbles I’ve written and not yet shared and scheduling them all in advance. Maybe I’ll have a new system by then, maybe I won’t. We’ll see.
(Yes, I still want to do the The Last Unicorn read-along, have no fear, people whom I’ve rambled at about it! I will still be doing that come June/July somewhere. I just need to pick a date, cut the questions down to a more manageable level, spruce up the questions so they make sense to people who are not me and are reasonably intelligent questions to ask, and figure out how to tackle promo banners because I have none.)
And now, without further ado! The actual review I promised in the title!
The Bard’s Daughter by Sarah Woodbury
I’m very tempted to describe this as a cosy mystery. I don’t read pure mystery too often, so I don’t know if people who do feel it fits there, but it was a very cosy read and a mystery, so. Cosy mystery. The book is a prequel to Woodbury’s Gareth and Gwen Medieval Mysteries, which I haven’t yet read. I picked this up in the hope that it would be a good introduction to the world and Woodbury’s style. I’m definitely interested in reading more! I really enjoyed this.
The story itself isn’t… very meaty, I suppose is a good way to describe it? It’s comfortable it doesn’t twist and turn too much. It’s not necessarily predictable, but neither is it very surprising. Gareth doesn’t actually show up in this story. He gets mentioned as he and Gwen have a past (and it sets up part of the reason I’m interested in reading on: how will these two meet up again and what happens after that?), but it’s largely a story of Gwen’s origins. This is the story of how Gwen became a medieval sleuth, if you want the simplest way to describe the plot.
Gwen is a young woman in medieval Wales, who’s spent her life travelling with her father and brother, following the music. When her father is accused of murdering a man, Gwen doesn’t believe the accusation and sets about to prove that he’s innocent. Before her father is facing execution (something that shocks quite a few people because it’s a foreign law), Gwen has no real thought or idea about what she wants to do with her life. She’s still unmarried and she has no real trade to speak of, despite people having urged her to find one. Facing her father’s execution, she’s forced to do an awful lot of growing up in just a handful of days and figure out who she is and what she wants in life.
The historical details aren’t ones I can vouch for in terms of accuracy, but they work well within the story that Woodbury is telling. There’s a strong sense of societal upheaval and change in this short novella and it’s a fascinating look in what changes in government might mean for a society.
I look forward to exploring more of Woodbury’s work!