Hello, Sunshines, I have the huge pleasure to be apart of the blog tour for; The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter. Not only will I be sharing my review of this compelling historical book, but I also have an exclusive excerpt to share with you all, which I am sure you will love.
I can’t wait to share this book with you all, firstly I want to say thank you to the ladies at Boldwood for the invite to this tour, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my complimentary copy.
About the Book
The Good Wife by Eleanor Porter.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher; Boldwood Books
Where will her loyalty lead her?
Once accused of witchcraft Martha Spicer is now free from the shadow of the gallows and lives a safe and happy life with her husband, Jacob. But when Jacob heads north to accompany his master, he warns Martha to keep her healing gifts a secret, to keep herself safe, to be a good wife.
Martha loves Jacob but without him there to protect her, she soon comes under the suspicious eye of the wicked Steward Boult, who’s heard of her talent and forces her to attend to him. If she refuses, he promises to destroy the good life she has built for herself with Jacob.
Desperate and alone, Martha faces a terrible decision: stay and be beholden to Boult or journey north to find Jacob who is reported to have been killed.. The road ahead is filled with danger, but also the promise of a brighter future. And where her gifts once threatened to be her downfall, might they now be the very thing that sets Martha free…?
The brilliant follow-up to Eleanor Porter’s first novel of love, betrayal, superstition and fear in Elizabethan England. A story of female courage, ingenuity and determination , this is perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.
Purchase Link – https://buff.ly/3jveaHL
Again the clay on my tongue. Wet and bitter, and the roaring weight of the slope piling on my chest. If I scream, the sludge will slide through my lips and press at my throat till I gag. But I must scream.
In the blackness I opened my mouth.
‘Martha! Martha! My sweeting, my coney! You are safe, safe.’ A man’s voice, gentle and close by my ear; he lifted his arm from my bosom and stroked my face until the hill retreated and I knew myself. I was in my own bed and Jacob beside me. All the horror of years ago, when Marcle Ridge crumpled and fell on me, was done with. It was only the dead were buried now.
We lay close. I breathed in the scent of the straw and lavender I had packed in the tick; the hay smell of the horses Jacob carried with him. I turned in the darkness and kissed his warm face.
‘They will pass, Martha, these dreams, they always do. It is the month, is all. It throws back its memories. It’s like the plough unfolding what was hidden.’
The month. February, when even winter was dying. It was my father’s worst month too. He would drink till his face scattered in the ale and he did not know himself. Each year, in the weeks after Candlemas, it felt to me as though the dead stirred; they looked for the bones that had been hurled about when Marcle hill fell down. They came into my dreams and whispered that I should be with them, for hadn’t I too been laid in the cold earth, wasn’t I the one who had pulled at the land with curses till it tumbled down?
For three days the ridge had roared and then advanced, ripping Kynaston chapel and its yard of graves, pulling the fields along like blankets, with the terrified ewes bleating and ancient trees wrenched like pegs and put down somewhere new. I had been out thieving wood and young Owen, closer to me than a brother, had been shaken out of his bed; the slip picked us and scattered us and covered us over. It was the freezing mud that I tasted again in my dreams, but what came after was worse. Someone, my good neighbours said, must have brought down God’s house, torn His hill, struck Owen dumb with terror. I must have lain with the devil. How else would a youth like Jacob turn from a golden sweetheart to embrace a small dark cripple such as me? Eye-biter, they called me, sorceress, Satan’s whore, abomination. They could barely wait for the gallows.
‘Whenever I close my eyes she’s there, Jacob, the night-hag. The mire puddles in my mouth and chokes me. It is as though there is no light left in the world. I’m sorry. I was never afraid of the night before.’
‘Come’, he said, ‘come outside with me. I must be at the stables soon.’
We stepped out from the cottage. The day had been a wet one and at first I placed my feet warily, but there was no need. Above the cleeving field the sky was clear. The stars sparked as though they’d been flung up by the chiselling frost. We laced hands to trace the constellations, the great bull, the hunter Orion with his girdle, the leaping hare, the hounds who chased after it forever. The great dog burned brightest. I liked it that the most flaming star in the whole of heaven was given to a cur. Nobody stirred in the lane, there were no sounds but the owls, and the yearning bark of a fox. We were alone with the vault of stars and all the world round us. I shucked the dread from my shoulders.
The Good Wife is the second book in what could be called a continuance/series which follows the story of Martha, a woman living in the Elizabethan age, which is full of suspicion and danger especially for women whom unfortunately for them are perceived to be witches. I haven’t read the previous book; The Wheelwright’s Daughter (even though that has been sitting on my kindle for way too long) from what I can gather this book continues on from where the previous left off – though I could be wrong, to be perfectly honest I don’t think not reading the previous had any huge impact in my enjoyment of The Good Wife, I think you can easily read it as a stand-alone.
Martha was previously accused of Witchcraft, after her marriage to Jacob they have started a whole new life together but their peaceful quiet life is to be torn apart when Jacob goes north for a few months with his master, he leaves Martha with a warning not to tell anyone about her ‘gifts’ she is to keep to herself. Which is all well and good until he leaves and soon the locals are shooting menacing looks in her direction, one thing leads to another and she finds herself in a situation where she must make a decision, one which will change her and possibly Jacob’s life; should she stay and face the trouble and danger which is heading her way, or should she leave, head north in search of her beloved Jacob?
We follow Martha as she sets out on her perilous journey, Martha despite her not being hugely clued up to the world around her has a real strength of character, she is determined, loyal to her husband and wise to the old ways – those very ways which could get her in trouble. Martha did strike me as a young woman who has been carefully hidden and protected so much so that once she must face the world for herself she is a little uncertain and I think some peoples prejudice and superstitions which a lot of these smaller villagers till hold on to does take her a little unaware she is so closeted that she must learn how to take care of herself, but I also like the progression of her journey of self-discovery and how as the story moves steadily forward she becomes wiser and confident.
I am fascinated with this era, especially the Witch side of the story I have always been drawn to stories which tell the stories of those women who were so badly treated all because of their gifts, when really these women were wise they were healers and helpers not spawn of the devil. I like that the suspicion o the time is evident on every page especially once Martha sets out on her travels as she passes through towns and villagers she sees a different life one of which I think she has been slightly shielded from
The Good Wife really drums home what a person can do when they are put into a precarious position, this is all about a strong if naïve woman in search of her destiny, in search of her love and in search of herself. Overall, The Good Wife is a lovely little story, it’s a compelling and highly enjoyable read one which I would recommend any historical fiction fan to have a read of.
It’s a beautifully written historical which really captures the reader’s attention and imagination, I like the way it easily flows taking you with it as it moves to the finale. It’s a little slower paced for my liking but I think it really works for the story being told.
This is the first I have read by Eleanor Porter and I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to her work, and I will definitely be reading the previous book in the continuance; The Wheelwrights Daughter.
About the Author
Eleanor Porter has lectured at Universities in England and Hong Kong and her poetry and short fiction has been published in magazines. The Wheelwright’s Daughter was her first novel.
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