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Publisher's Summary

When William the Conqueror wished to reward his armourer, he made him a grant of land - land worked by freemen and already belonging to a Saxon lord. But the men of the Conquest had no time for the niceties of land tenure and legal possession. Rolf, the armourer, hacked his way through the Saxon defiance and savagely claimed his royal bequest. His possessions included a village of sullen peasants - turned overnight into homeless villeins, the stone and wooden dwelling that was suitable for a Saxon but not for a Norman, and Madselin - the proud, courageous young widow of the Saxon lord....

©1968 Norah Lofts (P)2017 Soundings

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If Not Deathless Prose, Prose with Staying Power

I first encountered this book as a teenager, have re-read it into adulthood, and am delighted to add the audiobook to my well-worn paperback and e-book. Madselin's journey from willful, self-centered teen to mature, thoughtful woman (still in her teens) is the heart of the book, supported on the mystery of the prisoner in the castle-next-door who may or may not be Stigand, the man she had hoped to marry. He is imprisoned and tortured for the secret of a treasure he may or may not possess. As Madselin strives to deliver him from prison and torture, she also comes to understand and appreciate the character and actions of her mother and her first husband, both killed in the Norman invasion of 1066. The book is full of well-imagined, believable characters, mystery, psychology, and yes, romance--a genre I usually avoid. Madselin, however, is a multi-layered tale of a young woman transforming a capacity for romance into a gritty love that partners, protects, sacrifices, and endures.