The latest installment (the letter I) of The Alphabet in Historical Fiction which is hosted by the lovely ladies over at Historical Tapestry, gave me headaches. Seriously. For some reason I couldn't come up with anything that I could use for the letter I. So I went and asked a librarian. She looked at me strangely and suggested Ireland. Well, how I couldn't come up with that, I don't know. I went searching and found a Young Adult book, it's a fictionalized story of Richard and Aiofe, two legendary heroes of Irish history.
Here's the blurb for Strongbow: The Story of Richard and Aoife by Morgan Llywelyn:
More than eight centuries ago, a boy named Richard de Clare was born in a castle in Wales. The son of the powerful and warlike Earl of Pembroke, Richard - nicknamed Strongbow after his father's death - was trained as a ruthless fighter and a daring leader. But the life of a warrior proved to be a lonely one for Richard. And, as it turned out, a luckless one, for Richard one day found himself stripped of both his land and his title.
Then came news from faraway Ireland of a king, Dermot Mac Murrough, who has lost his kingdom and was willing to pay a handsome sum to any nobleman who could raise an army to reclaim it. Here, at last, was an opportunity for Richard to restore his honor. His reward? A bounty of land...and the hand of Mac Murrough's daughter in marriage, none other than the wild and willful Princess Aoife.
Together they fought - side by side - to defend their land and their people.
And changed the history of Ireland forever.
I'm not a huge fan of first person narrators, but this book was different. The narrator alternated between Aiofe and Richard each chapter. You got a different perspective in each chapter and I found that very informative. I felt that the author focused quite a bit on the role of daughters as property and also their roles as wives. Basically they were pawns in a elaborate game of chess. I liked that Aoife was such a strong character, it made her likable, she fought her own way. And I also found her struggle to understand her father's other persona to be believable.
I found it easy to read. I'm not sure on how accurate the history and the timeline but regardless it was a good solid read and I may just start reading more about Ireland.
Strongbow: The Story of Richard and Aoife by Morgan Llywelyn (3.5/5) Young Adult Historical Fiction; Published: Tor (1992); Year of the Historical (6); Young Adult Reading Challenge (3); Alphabet Historical Challenge (9); Books 2010 (41);