Lancashire Life reader book review - The de Lacy Inheritance
PUBLISHED: 10:46 25 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:53 28 February 2013
Lancashire Life reader Catherine Craw reviews Elizabeth Ashworh's 'The de Lacy Inheritance'
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The de Lacey Inheritence by Elizabeth Ashworh Reviewed by Catherine Craw
From the very first page the readers attention is demanded, as we are drawn into what promises to be a a gripping historical story of lost love, new love, family betrayal and compassion. Local places such as Clitheroe, Pendle Hill and Whalley were used combined with some totally believable characters, in a novel which is partly fiction and part factual, where the joining of the two is, at times, so seamless that it is difficult to differentiate one from the other.
We read of the terrible plight of one of the principal characters 'Richard FitzEustace' an intellegent and deeply religious man and his dispairing journey for forgiveness of his sins which were committed in Palestine whilst fighting in the Crusades, where he unfortunately managed to contract leprosy. Whose ultimate quest is to secure the future of his family by aquiring lands which are rightfully theirs.
We are compelled to read on in the hope that this poor mans dreadful lot improves as we travel on through the following chapters. Here is a man plagued with thoughts of his lost love 'Leila' many miles away in the Holy Land. She who shared his food, his drink and eventually his bed in those far off dark and desperate times.
Upon returning to England alone, he tries to painstakingly rebuild his life. Partly due to the generosity and kindness of total strangers, but primarily due to his own dogged determination. Not to mention the healing properties of the sulpherous waters of St Mary's well close by to Clitheroe Castle, a place where he choses to live the life of a hermit hidden away from society in a cave.
Essential to any good read is a family feud where greed and power come in equal measure. Also a resident 'Baddie' in this case Richards brother 'Roger' fits the bill. His nasty character and his heavy handed tactics leaves the reader no choice but to hope he meets a grizzly end!!
The youngest member of the FitzEustace family is Johanna. A formidable, feisty female witha pretty stubborn streak to her character. When brother Roger tries to arrange a marriage of convenience with with a portly old suitor she will have none of it and takes to the hills!! Clitheroe Castle to be exact where she seeks solace with the kindly Sir Robert de Lacey and his wife the Lady Isobel. They grow increasingly fond of Johanna as time goes by. The couple have not been blessed with children of their own and the headstrong Johanna provides them with what has been missing in their lives.
A good looking, kind and loving man enters Johannas life in the form of Geoffrrey de Wallei. This man had been invaluable to Richard during his internment at Whalley Abbey and also in Clitheroe. Johanna is warned not to have anything to do with Geoffrey and to stay well clear of him, but you just know she wont!
I cannot write too much more without giving away what I can only describe as a remarkably unexpected quirky ending. I found Elizabeths first novel compelling and very easy to read and exceptionally well written She went to great lengths to persue historical accuracy using a local setting with landmarks which were very familiar even today. The characters were realistically portrayed and very believable, especially Johanna who I must admit I had a soft spot for! Bring on de Lacey 2 is all thats left to say!!