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C S McClellan
on Feb. 24, 2012 :
If you love historical fiction, you need to acquaint yourself with Richard Herley. His novels are not only rich in detail, they're beautifully written. His descriptions draw you in with the sounds, scents, and views of an often wild and unfriendly, but beautiful world. His nature isn't a passive thing that you merely look at. It's active and engaging, and always very much a part of the story. When he writes about a flock of seabirds swooping over the water, you can see and hear them.
His descriptions of manual skills and handcrafts, often of another time and place are thoroughly convincing and contribute to the feeling of authenticity about the periods he writes about. I think his knowledge must be based as much on his own skills as on research.
The heart of The Tide Mill is about the intersection of the lives of serfs, free men, and nobles. Characters defy their ordained destinies, suffer the consequences, or reap the rewards. Nothing about this life is easy, even for the highborn, who have to balance the opposing demands of their king and the church. The characters struggle against each other, and against nature, mostly in the form of the sea that edges the village. Most of all, they struggle against themselves. Two threads wind through the story, the forbidden love of two people from different social classes, and the construction of a new kind of mill that attracts the greedy attention of the Church.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)
on Aug. 30, 2010 :
Another superb novel from Richard Herley, bringing the 13th century to life in extraordinary detail. Who would have thought that building a mill could be exciting? But I couldn't put it down!
(reviewed long after purchase)