Friday, April 16, 2010

I is for Ireland

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);

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