Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Award-winning LGBT author Griffith brings a sci-fi appreciation for alien culture and a woman's perspective to this fictional coming-of-age story about real-life Saint Hilda of Whitby, who grew up pagan in seventh-century Britain. Daughter of a poisoned prince and a crafty noblewoman, quiet, bright-minded Hild arrives at the court of King Edwin of Northumbria, where the six-year-old takes on the role of seer/consiglieri for a monarch troubled by shifting allegiances and Roman emissaries attempting to spread their new religion. Eventually Hild is baptized along with Edwin-a scene Griffith depicts as less about spirituality than pomp and politics. Puberty's sexual awakening soon follows, propelling Hild toward her slave girl, then the former girlfriend of Hild's longtime boyfriend, Cian, who teaches Hild swordsmanship and other manly skills. Britain in the years after Rome is a relatively undiscovered country for historical fiction. Griffith goes boldly into the territory, lingering over landscape, wallowing in language, indulging the senses, mixing historical fact with feminist fiction in a sweeping panorama of peasants working, women weaving, children at play, and soldiers in battle: the Dark Ages transformed into a fantasy world of skirt and sword. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, The Gernert Agency. (Nov. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This hefty novel is loaded with Old English vocabulary (a glossary is provided) and rich details of daily life that immerse the reader in the seventh-century Anglo-Saxon world. England is still covered with primordial forest teeming with wildlife, the Roman occupation is a not-too-distant memory, and pagan animism is losing ground to Christianity. Like Hild, who at age three learns that her father, a minor Anglisc king, has been killed, the reader must make sense of shifting feudal alliances. Hild grows into a preternaturally tall and powerful presence, and her calculating mother molds her into a seer whose supernatural gifts and fighting prowess make her invaluable to her uncle, the new king. Hild bases her predictions on signs in nature, a useful skill when fortunes are tied closely to the land. She joins the rest of her feudal court and converts to Christianity, at a time when it is politically expedient. VERDICT Based on the real-life St. Hilda of Whitby (614-80 CE), Griffith's Hild may be too remarkable to be true, but the novel provides a fascinating view of women's lives in the early Middle Ages, from their vital roles in textile production and keepers of the household to sleeping arrangements and sexuality. Recommend to readers of historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 5/20/13.]-Reba Leiding, formerly with James Madison Univ. Lib., Harrisonburg, VA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

This is the epic coming-of-age story of Hilda of Whitby, considered to be one of the patron saints of learning and culture. Set in seventh-century Britain, the beautifully written tale brings light to the everyday world of the Dark Ages while exploring a treacherous time. Richly detailed and centered on the friendship of women, Griffith's tale is fraught with mysticism, battles, and political peril. The use of medieval English helps transport readers into another place and time. VERDICT The author's meticulous research, worldbuilding, and passion for history shine in this vast and vastly entertaining book that should appeal to fans of Hilary Mantel and T.H. White. (LJ 8/13) (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

*Starred Review* In her first foray into historical fiction, Griffith explores the young life of Hild, the future St. Hilda of Whitby. Set in seventh-century Anglo-Saxon England, during the early years of Christianity there, the novel begins with the sudden death of Hild's father, Lord Hereric. To secure the futures of her daughters, Hild's ruthless and cunning mother embarks on a plan to hook their fate to the coattails of Edwin Snakebeard, Lord Hereric's ambitious brother and king-to-be. Soon, Hild becomes Edwin's trusted seer, and as the novel progresses, she attempts to stay in his favor, treading carefully among the large egos of the court and knowing that her survival depends as much on luck as it does on the accuracy of her predictions. Griffith expertly blends an exploration of seventh-century court life and a detailed character study of Hild as she balances a need for acceptance, love, and friendship and a desire to escape the strict gender roles of her time. While fierce battles and political intrigue feature prominently, so do the fascinating details of everyday life, particularly the lives of women. In short, Griffith triumphs with this intelligent, beautifully written, and meticulously researched novel.--Price, Kerri Copyright 2010 Booklist


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Award-winning LGBT author Griffith brings a sci-fi appreciation for alien culture and a woman's perspective to this fictional coming-of-age story about real-life Saint Hilda of Whitby, who grew up pagan in seventh-century Britain. Daughter of a poisoned prince and a crafty noblewoman, quiet, bright-minded Hild arrives at the court of King Edwin of Northumbria, where the six-year-old takes on the role of seer/consiglieri for a monarch troubled by shifting allegiances and Roman emissaries attempting to spread their new religion. Eventually Hild is baptized along with Edwin-a scene Griffith depicts as less about spirituality than pomp and politics. Puberty's sexual awakening soon follows, propelling Hild toward her slave girl, then the former girlfriend of Hild's longtime boyfriend, Cian, who teaches Hild swordsmanship and other manly skills. Britain in the years after Rome is a relatively undiscovered country for historical fiction. Griffith goes boldly into the territory, lingering over landscape, wallowing in language, indulging the senses, mixing historical fact with feminist fiction in a sweeping panorama of peasants working, women weaving, children at play, and soldiers in battle: the Dark Ages transformed into a fantasy world of skirt and sword. Agent: Stephanie Cabot, The Gernert Agency. (Nov. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.