ACCLAIM for In Vain

In 2004, Barbara Geisler published the first book in this series, Other Gods, followed shortly by Graven Images. I devoured both, and highly recommend them.

As In Vain opens, we meet Cecily, a young noble girl whose father has recently died in the Crusades and whose older sister has been ordered by King Henry to marry the man Cecily loves. Cecily has a choice for her future: accede to the lustful king's wishes, or follow his orders to become abbess of Shaftesbury. She rails against both, but chooses the latter.

Most of the book takes place 21 years later, in 1128. The Abbey has visitors: Cecily s half brother, Sir Tirel, who has spent much of his adult life protecting the recently deceased son of the Duke of Normandy, William Clito; Baudri de Brai, a knight and friend of Clito; and Baudri s wife (former mistress of Clito) and sister. When murder occurs, Cecily s half brother investigates, with the help of Dame Averilla.

Geisler incorporates her historical research gracefully, and the sense of period that I enjoyed earlier is evident. The author does an excellent job of providing supporting material: a map of Shaftesbury and a plan of the abbey, information on the nuns' daily schedule, a list of characters, notes on the real characters and historical elements of the story, a bibliography, a timeline, a glossary, and even a selection of Twelfth-century recipes!

—Trudi E. Jacobson, U.S. Reviews Editor,
Historical Novels Review

With plenty to enjoy for lovers of historical fiction and intrigue, In Vain is a top pick, very highly recommended.

— The Midwest Book Review

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