BOOK REVIEWS

Hope and the Knight of the Black Lion Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-06-06 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 3 user ratings
ISBN:0615843360
LANGUAGE:English

"Review of Hope and the Black Lion
Every Star Trek the fan must admit that nothing exciting ever happens until someone does something incredibly stupid. By writing this story from the first person point of view of a 17-year-old girl, Mary Findley makes the opening chapters very believable. Hope is stubborn, proud, ignorant and keeps the action moving. Unlike Star Trek, TV and movies in general, where the stupidity never seems to stop, Hope learns from her mistakes.
This is a highly readable historical novel. Unlike Tolstoy's War and Peace, I can remember who the characters are. I both read and studied Tolstoy and he still confuses me. The much shorter Hope and the Black Lion has a consistent point of view and a limited cast of characters. This is a big plus for me, because I can keep them straight.
For those of you who love period vocabulary, this will be a great book. For me, this was the chance to become intimately acquainted with the online dictionary. Just click (or tap if you have touchscreen) and for a brief definition and you may continue reading. For instance, what is damask, anyway? The setting and titles of nobility are historic, though none of the characters are.
The story is set during the time of the Crusades. Hope is a Lady whose father died. Hope and her mother go to live on the estate of her mother's brother. She pitches a fit for oysters, trades an heirloom for man's clothes so she can run in a race for boys only, nods off during Latin lessons, sneaks off to meet a boy by climbing down a castle tower and this is all in chapter one. This is followed by seventeen more action packed chapters.
We have action, love, romance, swords, castles and unbelievable stupidity all in the same book. Actually, it's all very believable; and lovable.
" said.

"Review of Hope and the Black Lion
Every Star Trek the fan must admit that nothing exciting ever happens until someone does something incredibly stupid. By writing this story from the first person point of view of a 17-year-old girl, Mary Findley makes the opening chapters very believable. Hope is stubborn, proud, ignorant and keeps the action moving. Unlike Star Trek, TV and movies in general, where the stupidity never seems to stop, Hope learns from her mistakes.
This is a highly readable historical novel. Unlike Tolstoy's War and Peace, I can remember who the characters are. I both read and studied Tolstoy and he still confuses me. The much shorter Hope and the Black Lion has a consistent point of view and a limited cast of characters. This is a big plus for me, because I can keep them straight.
For those of you who love period vocabulary, this will be a great book. For me, this was the chance to become intimately acquainted with the online dictionary. Just click (or tap if you have touchscreen) and for a brief definition and you may continue reading. For instance, what is damask, anyway? The setting and titles of nobility are historic, though none of the characters are.
The story is set during the time of the Crusades. Hope is a Lady whose father died. Hope and her mother go to live on the estate of her mother's brother. She pitches a fit for oysters, trades an heirloom for man's clothes so she can run in a race for boys only, nods off during Latin lessons, sneaks off to meet a boy by climbing down a castle tower and this is all in chapter one. This is followed by seventeen more action packed chapters.
We have action, love, romance, swords, castles and unbelievable stupidity all in the same book. Actually, it's all very believable; and lovable.
" said.

"Self-publishing can rise to the occasion, and honestly, Mary Findley is one of those authors who stands a head above the rest in her effort to achieve perfection. For those who love medieval history, the Crusader period in England, all things knights and espionage, everyday estate life, and purity of period detail, you will find an absolute GEM in this story.

It’s not a mystery, nor meant to be, when a long-missing son returns from the holy land to beg his father’s forgiveness. Having been to hell and back, Sir Chris has at last found peace with the true Christ, something his father longed for but could not teach a hot-headed young man betrothed to his toddler cousin. Going to war in an exotic land seemed a better choice.

Hope and her mother went to live at Colchester after the death of Hope’s father. Colchester is the family estate of Hope’s mother, Ada, and where Hope is schooled by Ada’s brother, the Baron, the father of Hope’s betrothed, Richard, a man twenty years her senior who has been missing for most of Hope’s life and presumed dead by all but his father. When Richard, masquerading as Sir Chris under the herald of a black lion, returns with his Arab brother in heart, Sadaquah, he is framed by another Crusader for the fire that nearly destroys Colchester and his family. Hope, who escaped with the help of her mother, accepts the aid of the Knight of the Black Lion and his surly friend, who has a strange history of his own. Their quest for truth and justice is an action-packed thrill ride, with spot-on period speech and costume that will set you down in thirteenth century England and live the adventure with these daring people.

Hope not only learns the secret of her knight-protector, but also the secret of his Samson-like strength, and is able to share it with those who need it most. Allegory, romance, action, this book will provide hours of enjoyment; suggestion: savor, don’t gulp. And read through the enormous, impressive research the author did. This is why I don’t write history, but sit at the feet of those who do.
" said.

"This book had a lot going for it: It was a sweet adventure and Romance story, written in an old-fashioned style, with a clear Gospel message. The use of contemporary songs and poems of this story were very impressive. However, there were a lot of aspects. that I could not agree with.

The characters were like modern American Evangelicals before their time: the story is set nearly 300 years before the Reformation, and a century before Wycliffe. The Catholic church is represented as entirely evil and repressive: corrupting Christianity to gain power. Now, I am no Catholic apologist but I do not believe all Medieval clerics were evil, and I dislike this kind of generalized portrayal of them.

Also, there are a lot of wrong assumptions in the story: the assumption that everyone from the Middle East and North Africa was Muslim, and that the Arabs are the indigenous people of the region, so the Crusaders were wicked imperialists attacking poor people in their own homeland.
They are not: the Arabs conquered much of the region in the seventh and eighth centuries. All mention of non-European Christians in Eygpt, where the protagonist goes on Crusade are people converted by a fictional European 'Pilgrim'. I'm just left thinking: what about the Coptic Christians? In many Middle Eastern states, there were populations of indigenous Christians, whose presence predates Islam. Look up the Berber Christians, or the Assyrian church.

Also, whilst many of the historical details in this book were correct, and the author made a valiant effort, there were a couple of serious mistakes that really let the whole thing down. One was a mention of potatoes being bought in preparation for a feast: potatoes in the Middle Ages are a big no-no. They are a New World plant. The style of writing sort of changes halfway through the story, from modern to pseudo-archaic with 'thee and thou'. Despite this, a few American terms were used, such as 'fall'. I think some of the details about clothing were a little mixed up, with fashions from the following century coming up alongside those of the 13th century when the story is set.

In spite of these though, I did actually sort of enjoy the book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys clean historical fiction, or stories written in the style Victorian and early 20th century authors.
" said.

"Review of Hope and the Black Lion
Every Star Trek the fan must admit that nothing exciting ever happens until someone does something incredibly stupid. By writing this story from the first person point of view of a 17-year-old girl, Mary Findley makes the opening chapters very believable. Hope is stubborn, proud, ignorant and keeps the action moving. Unlike Star Trek, TV and movies in general, where the stupidity never seems to stop, Hope learns from her mistakes.
This is a highly readable historical novel. Unlike Tolstoy's War and Peace, I can remember who the characters are. I both read and studied Tolstoy and he still confuses me. The much shorter Hope and the Black Lion has a consistent point of view and a limited cast of characters. This is a big plus for me, because I can keep them straight.
For those of you who love period vocabulary, this will be a great book. For me, this was the chance to become intimately acquainted with the online dictionary. Just click (or tap if you have touchscreen) and for a brief definition and you may continue reading. For instance, what is damask, anyway? The setting and titles of nobility are historic, though none of the characters are.
The story is set during the time of the Crusades. Hope is a Lady whose father died. Hope and her mother go to live on the estate of her mother's brother. She pitches a fit for oysters, trades an heirloom for man's clothes so she can run in a race for boys only, nods off during Latin lessons, sneaks off to meet a boy by climbing down a castle tower and this is all in chapter one. This is followed by seventeen more action packed chapters.
We have action, love, romance, swords, castles and unbelievable stupidity all in the same book. Actually, it's all very believable; and lovable.
" said.

"Review of Hope and the Black Lion
Every Star Trek the fan must admit that nothing exciting ever happens until someone does something incredibly stupid. By writing this story from the first person point of view of a 17-year-old girl, Mary Findley makes the opening chapters very believable. Hope is stubborn, proud, ignorant and keeps the action moving. Unlike Star Trek, TV and movies in general, where the stupidity never seems to stop, Hope learns from her mistakes.
This is a highly readable historical novel. Unlike Tolstoy's War and Peace, I can remember who the characters are. I both read and studied Tolstoy and he still confuses me. The much shorter Hope and the Black Lion has a consistent point of view and a limited cast of characters. This is a big plus for me, because I can keep them straight.
For those of you who love period vocabulary, this will be a great book. For me, this was the chance to become intimately acquainted with the online dictionary. Just click (or tap if you have touchscreen) and for a brief definition and you may continue reading. For instance, what is damask, anyway? The setting and titles of nobility are historic, though none of the characters are.
The story is set during the time of the Crusades. Hope is a Lady whose father died. Hope and her mother go to live on the estate of her mother's brother. She pitches a fit for oysters, trades an heirloom for man's clothes so she can run in a race for boys only, nods off during Latin lessons, sneaks off to meet a boy by climbing down a castle tower and this is all in chapter one. This is followed by seventeen more action packed chapters.
We have action, love, romance, swords, castles and unbelievable stupidity all in the same book. Actually, it's all very believable; and lovable.
" said.

"Self-publishing can rise to the occasion, and honestly, Mary Findley is one of those authors who stands a head above the rest in her effort to achieve perfection. For those who love medieval history, the Crusader period in England, all things knights and espionage, everyday estate life, and purity of period detail, you will find an absolute GEM in this story.

It’s not a mystery, nor meant to be, when a long-missing son returns from the holy land to beg his father’s forgiveness. Having been to hell and back, Sir Chris has at last found peace with the true Christ, something his father longed for but could not teach a hot-headed young man betrothed to his toddler cousin. Going to war in an exotic land seemed a better choice.

Hope and her mother went to live at Colchester after the death of Hope’s father. Colchester is the family estate of Hope’s mother, Ada, and where Hope is schooled by Ada’s brother, the Baron, the father of Hope’s betrothed, Richard, a man twenty years her senior who has been missing for most of Hope’s life and presumed dead by all but his father. When Richard, masquerading as Sir Chris under the herald of a black lion, returns with his Arab brother in heart, Sadaquah, he is framed by another Crusader for the fire that nearly destroys Colchester and his family. Hope, who escaped with the help of her mother, accepts the aid of the Knight of the Black Lion and his surly friend, who has a strange history of his own. Their quest for truth and justice is an action-packed thrill ride, with spot-on period speech and costume that will set you down in thirteenth century England and live the adventure with these daring people.

Hope not only learns the secret of her knight-protector, but also the secret of his Samson-like strength, and is able to share it with those who need it most. Allegory, romance, action, this book will provide hours of enjoyment; suggestion: savor, don’t gulp. And read through the enormous, impressive research the author did. This is why I don’t write history, but sit at the feet of those who do.
" said.

"This book had a lot going for it: It was a sweet adventure and Romance story, written in an old-fashioned style, with a clear Gospel message. The use of contemporary songs and poems of this story were very impressive. However, there were a lot of aspects. that I could not agree with.

The characters were like modern American Evangelicals before their time: the story is set nearly 300 years before the Reformation, and a century before Wycliffe. The Catholic church is represented as entirely evil and repressive: corrupting Christianity to gain power. Now, I am no Catholic apologist but I do not believe all Medieval clerics were evil, and I dislike this kind of generalized portrayal of them.

Also, there are a lot of wrong assumptions in the story: the assumption that everyone from the Middle East and North Africa was Muslim, and that the Arabs are the indigenous people of the region, so the Crusaders were wicked imperialists attacking poor people in their own homeland.
They are not: the Arabs conquered much of the region in the seventh and eighth centuries. All mention of non-European Christians in Eygpt, where the protagonist goes on Crusade are people converted by a fictional European 'Pilgrim'. I'm just left thinking: what about the Coptic Christians? In many Middle Eastern states, there were populations of indigenous Christians, whose presence predates Islam. Look up the Berber Christians, or the Assyrian church.

Also, whilst many of the historical details in this book were correct, and the author made a valiant effort, there were a couple of serious mistakes that really let the whole thing down. One was a mention of potatoes being bought in preparation for a feast: potatoes in the Middle Ages are a big no-no. They are a New World plant. The style of writing sort of changes halfway through the story, from modern to pseudo-archaic with 'thee and thou'. Despite this, a few American terms were used, such as 'fall'. I think some of the details about clothing were a little mixed up, with fashions from the following century coming up alongside those of the 13th century when the story is set.

In spite of these though, I did actually sort of enjoy the book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys clean historical fiction, or stories written in the style Victorian and early 20th century authors.
" said.

June 2018 New Book:

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