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Precious Norman Honor Paperback – April 4, 2011
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About the Author
“Precious Norman Honor” is A.L. Stumo’s first novel. She hopes to write and publish many more. She does not live in a castle, though she has traveled to the ruins of Bridgnorth Castle and has been known at times to dress in Saxon and Norse costumes. A.L. Stumo lives in a modern house with her three growing daughters, a husband, and a cat. Amber the cat is fat enough to survive a very long siege, but hopefully will never have to try.
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Stumo also shows her literary background with strong imagery threads through the story. Fish are a subtle extended metaphor, and my favorite use of this device is when Maud narrates, "My questions were as numerous as the fish in the Severn River" and later notes, "I sighed as I realized these questions would swim downstream and not be answered." I always appreciate this level of attention to detail in a novel, and Stumo did not disappoint. I would recommend this book for anyone of any age, history buff or no. I am eagerly awaiting her next novel and hope she writes many more to come.
A.L. presents details of castle life, the political climate, and military strategies of the times as part of the action and not as descriptive narrative. A leisurely pace and day-by-day chapters build suspense from beginning to end.
Adults and youth alike will find this book well worth reading.
The author stayed true to historical information about the siege and I think that may have been where the story lost me indefinitely. Truth of the matter is, the siege in and of itself was an inconsequential historical moment. Nothing worth writing about really happened and the people of Bridgnorth Castle simply gave up without a fight. I will give props to the author for even finding a way to make a story out of this hiccup in England's past.
Let me put it to you straight, this read is painful ... and it is the lack of action that killed me. I NEED for something to happen: an epic sword fight, a bloody army exchange, I would have even taken two horses kicking each other in the arse. What I got was Maud and her buddy, Rowena, trying to convince everyone at the castle to let them climb something tall enough to see the army besieging their castle.
HEADS UP!!! SPOILER ALERT!!!!
News flash: Maud and Rowena stumble through 77 pages of bland history to ... wait for it ... just a little longer ... climb a ladder. Yep, that's it, to climb a ladder! Let's reflect for a minute ... 77 pages of boring history, two girls whining the whole 77 pages and an inner monologue that would only have been worse if I had been struck by lightning while reading it. And all the author gives us is they get to climb a ladder and see the army.
When I saw the ending, I immediately looked around my living room in disbelief. You know ... there are some times I'm remorseful for being blunt and honest, but this time A. L. you deserve this one. There has got to be a better way to end the book; have Maud make it half way up the ladder and fall to her death! What is wrong with that? The author may have spent a lot of time and hard work on this story, but she has stolen precious hours from me that I'll never get back.
(Review written by C.J. - A Literary R&R blog review team member)