Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cymberie by Maggie Freeman

Penniless and far from home with a small son in sixteenth century Essex, Elaine has no choice but to nurse the man who condemned her innocent husband to death. Energetic and resilient, she learns to read and becomes Sir Richard’s clerk. She is courted by the candlemaker in the village – and then Sir Richard’s handsome explorer son returns. But she’s an independent woman now.

CYMBERIE is a strong story with intriguing characters, the story of a young woman’s struggle against the odds to provide for her child and herself, and at the same time to find fulfilment both in the work that she does and in her personal relationships.


Cymberie is one of those books that makes you reluctant to leave the story even for a moment. I raced through this novel, intent on every word, eager to read to the end, and yearning for more when the story came to an end. It is a gut-wrenching tale of a starving young woman in extreme poverty who finds herself having to offer what little breast milk she has to the dying overlord who sentenced her innocent husband to death. Poor, destitute, unable to read and write, she must set aside her abhorrance for Sir Richard, the man she is trying to keep alive, and do what she can to save her life and that of her child.

The story is compelling and the characters highly developed who evolve in a realistic manner. Set in Essex during the 16th century, one cannot help but feel for the heroine’s predicament. Slowly, her abhorrance dissolves and she embraces her duty, gaining her the opportunity to read and write, and her overlord’s undying faith. There is love, animosity, the struggle to survive, and ultimate achievement nestled in its pages. A rich story with so much depth and realism that it captures the reader. The plot moves at a great pace with plenty of interesting circumstances to keep the pages turning. Very highly recommended. Get this book and watch it soar to success. You won’t be sorry.