41. Richard the Lionheart by David West & Jackie Gaff, illustrated by John Cooper
This is a consecutive art depiction of the life of King Richard the Lionheart, from his childhood as a younger son of Eleanor of Aquitaine (I own a biography of her, and really must read it, once my books arrive) and Henry II. Both men were kings of England, but certainly wouldn’t have recognised that as an adequate description of their rank. Richard, particularly, was not especially interested in England, and preferred to crusade. (More on that below.)
This was part of the same reread I mentioned yesterday. I am torn. I love Gabaldon’s writing and characters, but her skill at expressing characters and what they experience can be more graphic than I felt comfortable with this time through. I’d like to say that’s less of an issue in this volume than some of the rest, but seeing as this is the one with the ’45, that just wouldn’t be true!
43. The Travelling People by Anthea Wormington, Sian Newman & Chris Lilly
As the title suggests, this is about the Travelling people(s) of Great Britain, and to an extent of Ireland. It is a thin glossy book produced for children about the various groups of nomadic communities. There is a focus on Irish Travellers and on Roma/Gypsy Travellers, as the most numerous such groups, but there is also information on several other groups. The title link includes PDF files of many or all of the pages of the book, and it is well worth reading, for adults as well. There are links to other related resources as well.
This one isn’t about war so much as its aftermath of suffering, death and separation, and how ultimately love can overcome them. But being Gabaldon, that doesn’t mean everything ends up sugar and roses…
Now though, we’re in the prelude stages to another war, on another continent…
The next audiobook was my second read of Scott (I have a print copy of Ivanhoe, which I could probably stand to reread), and takes us back to King Richard and the Crusades. The former seems a favourite of Scott, and here is definitely portrayed as the absolute flower of chivalry. Richard (and to an extent Sir Kenneth, narrator and protagonist of the tale) far prefers an honourable enemy (as he considers Saladin) to a dishonourable ally (all those who feel it’s time to give up the crusade), but can he really fight on honour alone?
The last ‘travel book’ tells of two young girls raised in slavery in 19th century America, who upon being ‘sold South’ choose to flee North along the Underground Railway. It isn’t a long book, and gets across the horrors of slavery without being too graphic for even a sheltered adolescent. It’s well written, and includes both adventure and emotion.