Friday, August 07, 2009

Favorite Old YA Books I

Got a bit burned out from meeting various deadlines and took a blogging break. Back now!

I thought I'd post every now and then on a YA book I love, to say what's so awesome about it or how it influenced me. Today's post is on Elizabeth Marie Pope's novel The Perilous Gard.

During the last days of Mary Tudor's reign in England, outspoken lady-in-waiting Kate Sutton is exiled to a remote castle (the Gard in the title), where she discovers the old ways of sacrificing a young man to the fairy folk still thrive. Kate musters all her intelligence and will to save the young man, falling in love and finding herself in the process.

This vibrant, exciting, beautifully written book combines my love for history, fantasy, romance, and strong female heroines. I love history, and Pope's story gives us a glimpse into life in Tudor England (we even get to meet Princess Elizabeth Tudor, a hero of mine) before showing us an England even older and far more dangerous.

And then there's Kate Sutton, who may be clumsy and have difficulty holding her tongue, but it's exactly those qualities that end up saving her and the young man she loves. She's brainy, stubborn, insecure about her looks, and has a will that cannot be bowed. You guessed it - I identified with her in a big way, and she's a role model for some of the female characters I write. The romance that develops is sweet without being cloying because both parties are pig-headed and smart. Another lesson learned from this book - keep the villains multi-layered. The faery folk are sympathetic yet terrifying. You get a poignant glimpse of what it might mean to be one of the them in a land that no longer believes in you.

This one of those books shelved in the teen section that could just as easily be read by adults

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