Saturday, July 23, 2011

Book Review: Mary of Carisbrooke by Margaret Campbell Barnes

Publish Date: May 2011
Format: Paperback pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"A Girl, A King, and the castle that changed them both Forever... 
Charles I, king of England, thought that Carisbrooke Castle would be safe, an Isle of Wight refuge far from the madding crowd of Cromwell. But Charles ran straight into the arms of betrayal, his retreat morphing to prison and his allies few and far between. 
Mary, a quiet servant girl in awe of her king and country, vaults into intrigue and danger as she helps to plot the king's escape. 
A moving story of royal hopes and misfortunes, Mary of Carisbrooke is at its heart the tale of a charming girl who is as romantic and alluring as she is smart and bold. Loyal to herself and to the Crown, Mary's brush with history reveals just how quickly fate can shift the paths of power."

My Review:

My first introduction to Margaret Barnes was a bit shaky with her medieval novel, Within a Hollow Crown (my review), but I can say without a doubt that this novel has propelled her to my favorite authors list!

Mary of Carisbrooke is one of those novels that will transport you to the location of the novel and make you never want to leave. From the very beginning there is a compelling edge to the story, with each character being unraveled with precision and great detail. Margaret Barnes has created a compelling novel that will stay with you long after finish the last page.

The story opens with everyday life on the island of Carisbrooke. Following Mary on her daily chores and routine visits to friends, we are given a special glimpse into their simple and contented lifestyle. It is this opening scene that sets the stage for the rest of the novel, by allowing us to enjoy their pleasure we can understand what they long for when the turbulent times overtake them. The turbulent times begin once King Charles I arrives at the castle, and it soon becomes clear that he is never meant to leave by his own free will. Determined to serve her sovereign and return her island to its peaceful state, Mary embarks on a path of espionage, finding herself and love along the way.

The months are flying by and so are the novels being read, but of all my 2011 reads so far, Mary of Carisbrooke is definitely one of my favorites this year! I highly recommend this novel to anyone looking for an engrossing reading experience that will satisfy completely.

Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.
FTC: I received this book from the publisher. As always, these are my own honest opinions.


Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Thanks for the review, Svea. I had a wonderful start with Margaret Campbell Barnes having read My Lady of Cleves first. I followed this with Within the Hollow Crown, which I thought was okay, and then The Passionate Brood, which I couldn't even finish. I've been unsure about whether or not to try any other of Barnes' works because of this. So far I've only read two reviews of Mary of Carisbrooke (this one included) and both have been positive. I guess I'll have to give this one a try :-)

Diane said...

Love that cover. So simple but reminiscent! :O)

Holly said...

I want to read this one soon. I loved her book The King's Fool and was ok with The Tudor Rose. This one sounds like it will be really good though :)

Elysium said...

I don't think I've ever read about Charles so this sounds interesting. I've read The Tudor Rose and quite liked it.

Alexis @ Reflections of a Bookaholic said...

I'm definitely going to add this one to my list. Thanks for the introduction :)

Unknown said...

I have been hit or miss with this author as well. I started with, and didn't love, Within the Hollow Crown, but I loved The Passionate Brood. Mary of Carisbrooke comes in at a close second for me. Thanks for the review.