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Publisher's Summary

When the novice Emma Thorgold goes missing from Godstow Abbey in the summer of 1353, the hunt is on throughout the Oxfordshire countryside. Bookseller Nicholas Elyot and scholar Jordain Brinkylsworth are anxious to help the girl, but her stepfather has other intentions. Why is he so determined to shut her away for life? Or worse? And will she be found unharmed?

©2016 Ann Swinfen (P)2017 Ann Swinfen

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing Second Book

I was very disappointed in this book. I had high hopes for the series after reading the first book. In a sense this book takes up the tale where the last book ended. While in the first book they solved the mystery of the murder of a young student at Oxford, in this book we are involved with his sister on the eve of taking her final vows at a nearby by convent.

However there is not much mystery here. The story is mostly about finding a way to get the heroine, the Novice of the title, out of the convent. There are long periods of following her escape and the efforts of her relative to track her down with dogs. Much of the book is taken up with the escape and flight. I found that rather boring and uninteresting. Some of you may have a different view. But it did not suit me. However, it was well written and you certainly had a feel for what the Novice was experiencing.

I hope that future books in the series will return to the murder/mystery theme of the first volume.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Simply Lovely

A beautifully told tale with great historic accuracy that brings to life the lives of the characters with quiet certainty

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent series! Love the history and characters

Very well written with a good story, lots of historical detail and great characters. I'm getting the 3rd book now. I like cozy mysteries, and this is similar. But, the first two books are also full of details of book making, scribing and monastic orders. Definitely a good read. The narrator does and excellent job as well!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Read Book One First!

This is a well written medieval mystery, with a wonderfully described sense of place , and character development very well done.
This tale is more of a story rather than a mystery per se (although the motives behind the story are a mystery) .
It's important to have read book one first ...the Book Seller's Tale; otherwise you will spend far too much time trying to work out who's who.
And it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so now I simply must listen to book Three, which won't be a hardness. Well narrated. Great listen

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So much fun!

Ann Swinfen has me hooked on this series and in love with the characters. Her writing transports you back to medieval Oxford and Philip Battley's narrating gives depth to the characters. Looking forward to the next one!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Really boring

The first book was pretty fun to read and held my interest the whole way through. I was excited to read the next one, but unfortunately found it just dragged and dragged. I also thought much of the story was not believable for the time period. The narrator is excellent. Too bad the material is so overwrought.

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The Novice's Tale

Though this book can stand alone, it would be better to read/listen to book one, "The Bookseller's Tale" first. The narration is excellent. The story well done and interesting. It helps one to understand medieval life. The characters are strong and likeable. I am looking forward to follow them into book three!

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Fun and Instructive

I enjoyed learning about daily life of emerging middle class in Oxford, England. Well told.

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A Medieval Cozy

This second book in the series is interesting more for its historical detail than for its plot or characterisation. There is no mystery to solve as in The Bookseller's Tale; however, details of medieval monastic customs and the legal status of women carry the novel. Narration is excellent. This is a gentle book.

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  • Rebecca
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 06-17-17

Even better than the Bookseller's Tale

With interesting historical details, the Oxford mysteries follow a book seller in Oxford with a knack for sniffing out injustice. The murder in this one is only the introduction to the actual plot, it is a bit all over the place, but at the same time it fleshed out some recurring characters, revisited some from the first book, and introduced some new ones.
I find the protagonist endearing, in part because he has very progressive ideas about women, he recognizes that the women in his personal experience are intelligent and capable human beings, and he insists his daughter be educated as well as any boy.
So when he comes across a very fine example of an illustrated Book of Hours, with illuminated capitals and clever illustrations, he is less surprised than some to learn it was made by a young novice at a nearby abbey. When the body of a young student turns out to be the young woman's cousin, he is sent to notify her and a friendship begins. Soon though, his interest in this young novice maybe the only thing that saves her from a life of solitude and captivity, or even from murder.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-20-17

Couldn’t put it down!

I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s wonderfully written and narrated with fascinating historical details

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Jennifer Chennell
  • 11-27-17

enjoyable

i like these tales.. will they tax your mind? will they send you off wringing your hands and pondering the meaning off it all? NO what they will do is whisk you off to anither time and place and tell a pleasant story in a pleasent way. If you like you novels light and enjoyable then go for it.