Print Length: 313 pages
Publisher: Diversion Books (July 28, 2015)
“Suspenseful, historically accurate, and blessed with a wonderful cast of characters, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is an absolute delight from start to finish…” — Charles de Lint, author of the Newford Series
In the year of our Lord 1363, two suspicious deaths in the infirmary of St. Mary’s Abbey catch the attention of the powerful John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York. One victim is a pilgrim, while the second is Thoresby’s ne’er-do-well ward, both apparently poisoned by a physic supplied by Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton. In the wake of these deaths, the archbishop dispatches one-eyed spy Owen Archer to York to find the murderer.
Under the guise of a disillusioned soldier keen to make a fresh start, Owen insinuates himself into Wilton’s apothecary as an apprentice. But he finds Wilton bedridden, with the shop being run by his lovely, enigmatic young wife, Lucie. As Owen unravels a tangled history of scandal and tragedy, he discovers at its center a desperate, forbidden love twisted over time into obsession. And the woman he has come to love is his prime suspect.
Lovingly detailed, beautifully written, THE APOTHECARY ROSE is a captivating and suspenseful tale of life, love, and death in medieval England.
I found The Apothecary Rose interesting to read since I'm not that used to read historical mystery books that take place in the 14th century. This mystery was especially interesting since it involves the church. John Thoresby, Lord Chancellor of England and Archbishop of York sends out one-eyed spy Owen Archer to find out if the two suspicious death at the infirmary of St. Mary's Abbeys are murders and if so who's behind it. Could it be the Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton or his wife? Or someone that works at St. Mary's Abbeys? Owen Archer takes a job at the Wilton's apothecary in a way to learn more, but the soon finds himself both in danger and in love.
It was a good book, but there were two things that just didn't work for me. First, the love thing, I was just not that interested in reading about Owen falling in love with Lucie, Master Apothecary Nicholas Wilton wife. I would have preferred a slower approach to their growing fondness for each other, instead of dreaming about each other, and thinking about each other, looking longing at each other. Perhaps something growing more over time than during a book. I just didn't find that interesting and every scene that in any way was about their feeling just made me mentally sigh and hope the story would return to the crime instead. Sometimes love stories work for me in historical fiction/mystery and sometimes they don't. This time, it didn't.
The second thing was that it took forever to get somewhere in the book, at last it felt like that. It just didn't happen that much in the middle of the book after the interesting beginning and frankly I was not that surprising to learn who the culprit was. But I found the last part of the book interesting when everything started to come together and the truth about the deaths were revealed.
I would like to read more books in this series. Owen Archer was an interesting character and I enjoyed reading about crimes in the 14th century.
About The Guilt of Innocents
“It’s…the Machiavellian intrigue that makes this such an enjoyable read. When the iron curtain came down people said the spy-thriller genre was dead. They were wrong. This is as full of intrigue as a Deighton or a Le Carré.” —THE GUARDIAN
Winter in the year of our Lord 1372. A river pilot falls into the icy waters of the River Ouse during a skirmish between dockworkers and the boys of the minster school, which include Owen Archer’s adopted son Jasper. But what began as a confrontation to return a boy’s stolen scrip becomes a murder investigation as the rescuers find the pilot dying of wounds inflicted before his plunge into the river. When another body is fished from the river upstream and Owen discovers that the boy Jasper sought to help has disappeared, Owen Archer convinces the archbishop that he must go in search of the boy. His lost scrip seems to hold the key to the double tragedy, but his disappearance leaves troubling questions: did he flee in fear? Or was he abducted?
On the cusp of this new mystery, Owen accepts Jasper’s offer to accompany him to the boy’s home in the countryside, where they learn that a valuable cross has gone missing. A devastating fire and another drowning force Owen to make impossible choices, endangering not only himself, but the two innocents he fights to protect. The bond between fathers and sons proves strong, even between those not linked by blood.
Print Length: 267 pages
Publisher: Diversion Books (July 26, 2015)
“As always, Candace Robb writes a powerful story intertwined with genuine characters of the day.” —HISTORICAL NOVEL REVIEW
Archbishop Thoresby of York, the second most powerful cleric in England, lies dying in his bed. The end of his life is seen by the great families of the North as a chance to promote one of their own as his successor, and Thoresby himself announces he will leave the matter to the dean and chapter of York. On the eve of this decision, the dying archbishop agrees to a visit from Joan, Princess of Wales, wife of the Black Prince, heir to the throne of England, and Thoresby’s captain of the guard, Owen Archer, has no doubt that trouble will follow.
As soon as the company rides into the palace yard he is proved right: they arrive burdened with the body of one of their party, and Owen finds evidence that the man’s death was no accident. Within days of this discover, a messenger carrying an urgent message for the Archbishop is found hanging in the woods. With guards surrounding the property, it is clear that the murderer walks among the palace guests. The powerful Percy and Neville families are well represented in the entourage, including a woman who remembers an afternoon tryst with Owen as much, much more. Even the princess’ son is suspect. As Owen races to unmask the guilty and rid the palace of the royal party, his final wish for his lord is that he might die in peace.
Growing up, Candace Robb wanted to be a ballerina, tap dancer, folk singer, journalist—but on the day that she walked into Liz Armstrong’s undergraduate class on Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, that all changed. A gifted teacher, lively, witty, always laughing even when cringing at a lazy response, Dr. Armstrong launched into the opening stanzas, and within a few lines Candace’s ears adjusted to the middle English—and she was hooked. Chaucer’s psychological study of the two lovers was a revelation to her. The next quarter was The Canterbury Tales. That clinched it. Candace went on to graduate work in medieval history and literature, and ever since she’s been engaged in bringing to life the rich culture of the period, from the arts to the politics. She is the internationally acclaimed author of thirteen crime novels featuring the sexy, brooding, clever Owen Archer, who solves crimes for John Thoresby, Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor of England, and the young Margaret Kerr, searching for her missing husband and establishing her own role in a Scotland overrun by English soldiers. Candace is currently under contract with Pegasus Books for a new crime series set in 15th century York, the Kate Clifford mysteries, which will debut in 2016.
Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published two historical novels about the women of the English court in the 14th century, A Triple Knot and The King’s Mistress.
Born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, Candace grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she loves for its combination of culture, natural beauty, and brooding weather so like Yorkshire, Wales, and Scotland, which she visits as often as possible. She has taught the art of writing the crime novel in the University of Washington’s certificate program, and offers workshops in writing the historical novel and in creating and plotting the crime series. Candace (and Emma) blog about writing and medieval topics at A Writer’s Retreat.
Monday, October 5th: You Can Read Me Anything – The Apothecary Rose
Monday, October 5th: Reading Reality – The Guilt of Innocents
Wednesday, October 7th: No More Grumpy Bookseller – The Apothecary Rose
Wednesday, October 7th – Raven Haired Girl – The Apothecary Rose
Thursday, October 8th: It’s a Mad Mad World – The Apothecary Rose
Friday, October 9th: Birdhouse Books – The Apothecary Rose
Monday, October 12th: Reading Reality – A Vigil of Spies
Tuesday, October 13th: Let Them Read Books – author guest post
Wednesday, October 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller – The Nun’s Tale
Thursday, October 15th – Raven Haired Girl – The Nun’s Tale
Friday, October 16th: Broken Teepee – The Apothecary Rose
Monday, October 19th: No More Grumpy Bookseller – The Riddle of Saint Leonard’s
Monday, October 19th: Broken Teepee – The Lady Chapel
Tuesday, October 20th: Thoughts from an Evil Overlord – The Apothecary Rose
Wednesday, October 21st – Raven Haired Girl – The Riddle of Saint Leonard’s
Friday, October 23rd: Broken Teepee – The Nun’s Tale
Monday, October 26th: Luxury Reading – The Apothecary Rose
Wednesday, October 28th – Raven Haired Girl – A Spy for the Redeemer
Thursday, October 29th: Broken Teepee – The King’s Bishop
Monday, November 2nd: Broken Teepee – The Riddle of Saint Leonard’s
Friday, November 6th: Broken Teepee – A Gift of Sanctuary
Wednesday, November 11th: Broken Teepee – A Spy for the Redeemer
Monday, November 16th: Broken Teepee – The Guilt of Innocents
Friday, November 20th: Broken Teepee – A Vigil of Spies