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The de Lacy Inheritance
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Richard FitzEustace left England a wealthy Norman nobleman, traveling to the Holy Land to fight in the Crusades, but he returns home afflicted with leprosy, convinced he is being punished by God for his sins. Declared dead by the church and having lost his inheritance, he intends to go into a leper colony, but his grandmother has one final request, to travel north to Lancashire to find her cousin Robert de Lacy, a wealthy man with no heirs. Richard intends to speak to de Lacy and let him know his cousin is still alive and is the rightful heir to all his wealth. But Richard knows that since he’s penniless and an outcast, gaining access to de Lacy will be hard, especially under the watchful eyes of de Lacy’s dean, cousin to de Lacy’s wife, who considers himself the heir to the de Lacy fortune. Ashworth’s novel, based on an old Lancastrian legend, is an exciting and satisfying story. --Hilary Hatton --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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3.5 stars. It was an interesting read and it seems to be historically correct per the author's quite good notes. I do enjoy her books about the DeLacy's and their place in history although The Lady of Haigh remains my favorite.
The subject matter was serious, but perhaps a lighter touch for Richard and Joanna would have worked better, for me at least. They seemed to vacillate a great deal in their moods. The author's note seems to allude to Johanna as having descendants; I would like to hear about that.
Elizabth Ashworth is a fine chronicler of the De Lacy family and has a great website for perusing
Richard FitzEustace was in the Holy Land fighting with his King for a just cause. A little indiscretion with a woman whom should be considered in all respects as a party of the enemy leaves Richard a leper and the King sends him home to suffer with his affliction.
Richard for all cause is considered dead by the church and is to be shunned by all. Only God will be his companion now and a strong sense of faith, devotion, and consistent prayer can absolve his sins before he is called to his maker.
Richard's grandmother asks a boon of her grandson for she is not afraid of what he has and he sets off to the de Lacy lands in search of a one last wish that he will be able to try and fulfill before his end. He finds upon the de Lacy lands people of more courage and kindness that he could ever hope for. A place to live and devote himself to the Glory of God allows him to do what he can to fulfill his grandmother's wish bringing along a string of events that will hopefully lead to his absolution of sins and God's forgiveness.
This was a tender story but strong of faith, devotion and love. A sense of what is right and what could be consider evil plays strongly. A story that is set in a time when loyalty and honor is key to living the ultimate life would make you hope that forgiveness would be granted in the end.
This is a story for most ages as it is clean of sex and descriptions of the harsh realities of war. Even the description of leprosy is not described in length. The main emphasis is on family, honor, devotion and a strong belief in the good of God in all His brilliance.
Richard has just returned home from fighting the infidels in the Crusades, but the homecoming is bittersweet as he has returned with leprosy and as such, must be declared dead by a priest, banished from his childhood home and cut off from his family. Before leaving he promises his grandmother that he will find her cousin, Robert de Lacy and help ensure her inheritance. Although they aren't the only ones who expect to inherit the de Lacy lands and Richard must work carefully to secure his family's rights without revealing who he is.
From the very beginning I felt an immediate liking for Richard and sympathized with his plight. The first few pages had me teary eyed as he receives the Mass of Separation from his priest that takes away everything he has ever held dear - his home, his family and any hope of a meaningful future. His love of his family, unfailing devotion to God and constant atonement for his one moment of weakness is endearing. I seriously wanted to jump through the pages and hug him!
I didn't really expect to love this book as much as I do and I expect that Richard will be staying with me for a long time. There was never a point in the book where I was bored, once started it was a quick read that kept me entranced. Elizabeth Ashworth has earned a fan in me and I look forward to future books from her.