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Ken Follett

    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

    Reading Wednesday

    There have only been a few trilogies or book series that I have found intriguing. I enjoyed the Harry Potter series of course, as well as The Hunger Games. And I really loved Ken Follett’s brilliant Kingbridge trilogy. In fact The Pillars of the Earth is one of my top favorite books of all time. And so I was really excited for Follett’s latest book, the prequel to Pillars of the Earth. Here is my Book Review of The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett.

    The Evening and the Morning takes us to England in 997 CE, 150 years before the time of Pillars of the Earth. A brutal time of power wielding nobles and church leaders, who reign over the peasants, often in conflict with the King.

    It’s a chaotic time in English history, with Vikings attacking and war with with the Welsh. This uncertain time is the setting for the story of the village of Drains Ferry and the Shiring Abbey. We are introduced to Ragnor, a noblewoman from Normandy who comes to England to marry the Alderman. She is in love with him, but finds a family and a world of deceit, greed, lies and murder. Including her nemesis, Bishop Winston who is her husbands brother.

    A young boat builder named Edgar, and an honest monk named Aldred will join with Ragnor in the decades long battle of wits and conflict against the evil Bishop Winston, who will do anything for power and wealth, including murder.

    It’s the dawn of the middle ages, life is hard for everyone, unless you are a noble or Church appointed leader. Most of the nobility and church leaders are hungry for power and wealth, and will risk everything. But our heroines and heroes will spend their lives fighting this evil ambition and pursuing a life of honesty and love.

    Drains Ferry will become the village of Kingsbridge, and at the end of the book the stage is set for the amazing story in Pillars of the Earth and the trilogy of Kingsbridge.

    As usual Follett is brilliant in his research and storytelling. I loved this book and feel so close to all the amazing characters Follett shares with us. Even after thirty years since Pillars of the Earth were published, this book and all it’s sequels and prequels is some of the best literature of the century. I am a huge fan of Follett.

    *****Five stars for The Evening & The Morning by Ken Follett.

    Read last week’s review of The Book of Lost Friends

    My current read Anxious People by Fredrick Bachman

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    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    If you are one of our many faithful Reading Wednesday followers you will know that I adore Ken Follett. I’ve read several of his books. They are both marvelous as book in hand and on audible. My favorite Follett is Pillars of the Earth and I have recently also read Fall of Giants. And today I will share my book review of A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett.

    Like other Follett novels, A Place Called Freedom creates a chronicle of generations. Mixing historical facts, people and events with fictional characters and places – Follett brilliantly weaves his saga.

    In A Place Called Freedom we meet Mack McAsh, a Scottish coal miners son, destine to a life in “the pit” during a period that begins in 1767. During this time miners are forced to a life of serfdom, once they begin working in the mines they must never leave. McAsh sees more for his life and eventually escapes and becomes a leader in the working-class discontent of the time.

    Lizzie Hallim, a young woman of wealth and privilege who is expected to marry into the wealthy Jamieson family, owners the mines, lives a very different kind of life from Mack. But soon enough Lizzie realizes the hardship the minors endure and the reality she has been so blind to.

    Lizzie eventually falls for the wrong Jamieson brother, exacerbating a hateful relationship between brothers and father and step mother.

    A well written and believable cast of characters develops through the book during a tumultuous period of serfdom and slavery, wealth and prosperity, female repression and class injustice, creating a ripe opportunity for the characters to flee to the new American colonies and A Place Called Freedom.

    Another wonderful novel by Ken Follett.

    Four stars for A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett. Read last week’s review of The Huntress by Kate Quinn.

    Book Review A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett.
    Reading Wednesday

    Book Review Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

    Reading Wednesday

    Location: Reading Wednesday

    (Note – following the tragic fire yesterday at the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, I am compelled to share this blog again.  Ken Follett’s Book Pillars of the Earth, although based in England, is one of the most fascinating books I’ve ever read, focused on cathedral building in the Middle Ages. This brilliant story is what I thought of all day yesterday as Notre Dame burned – thinking about the people who created this and other majestic structural wonders during the  period.

    Today I mourn the loss of historic structure and art while saluting those humans whose perseverance created it all. Who deserve our thanks and reverence.  We can be confident it will rise again.)

    The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

    A Saga.  A Gripping historical novel from contemporary writer Ken Follett.  Published in 1989, how is it that I have waited so long to read this masterpiece?  I absolutely love The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

    As a full time traveler, I have been witness to some of the most remarkable cathedrals in the world.  And I have often felt flabbergasted at the thought of how these monstrous but beautiful buildings could possibly been constructed in an age with no machinery, electricity, power or technology.  These monuments to God are truly a wonder.

    Little did I know all this time that Ken Follett had in the 1970’s felt the same, and over a decade of time he wrote his brilliant masterpiece The Pillars of the Earth.  I am so glad I found this book.  My eyes have been opened and my appreciation will be far greater still, when next I stand in front of one of these masterpiece architectural wonders.

    The Pillars of the Earth is set in 12th century England, a time of anarchy and war, brutal famine and poverty, royal power and catholic corruption.  The story follows a memorable cast of characters who you grow to love as they struggle in their own existence, as well as a brutal cast of characters – power hungry and evil, who you despise.  Follett’s ability to bring together this believable group of people, set against real historical events and characters in a time of medieval anarchy is a masterful work of fiction.  The author builds the story alongside the building of the magnificent Kingsbrige Cathedral, despite fire and pillaging, death and destruction, backstabbing and power grabbing at every corner.

    The Pillars of the Earth is ambitious to say the least.  Masterful at its best.  And written with compassion for the everyday people of the time – just trying to survive in a world where any day could bring disaster.

    Spectacular classical reading at its best. 

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Five stars for The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

    Read what Wikipedia has to say about Pillars of the Earth here.

    Read last week’s review of The Keeper of Lost Things.

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