Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Precious Norman Honor by A. L. Stumo

ISBN #: 978-0983484707
Page Count: 280 (paperback); 77 (ebook)
Copyright: 2011

Book Summary:
(Taken from Amazon)

Maud has always found that running errands and being helpful lets her go wherever the action is happening and wins the approval of her parents.But now that the castle is under siege by their own king, all that she knew is mixed up. She cannot go run errands outside, she cannot even see outside, and her parents only want her to sit still and be safe. Maud longs to see the army outside and make this siege come to a happy end so that her life with her friends and family can return to normal. But can her life ever be normal again? Will she even be alive after this siege? Based on an actual siege in 12th century England, “Precious Norman Honor” is Maud’s tale of conflicted loyalties, climbing attempts, and confinement.

C.J.'s Review:

Okay, let me start by saying one thing: I love history.  I love watching it, I love hearing stories about it, I would even love to travel back in time to Shropshire, England in 1102 to Bridgnorth Castle ... just to throw myself from the top of the castle walls to King Henry's army.  Then maybe, just maybe, there would be something interesting in this story to read about.  Don't get me wrong, I wanted so badly to like this story, because it is about history.  It just wasn't happening.

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.


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.

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