Friday, 29 March 2013

Artful Readers Club March

Welcome back to a new month of the Artful Readers Club.
This month I listened to a book rather than read it.
My book choice was The Gallows Curse by Karen Maitland.

I honestly can't praise this book enough !!
I loved it from the first sentence to the last. 

This is the 3rd book that I have listened to by Karen Maitland, the books are read by David Thorpe and he really brings all the characters to life. I don't know if I read one of the books if I would enjoy is as much without all the voices of David.

We are transported back to the year 1210 where King John is the ruler of England and having fallen out with the Pope, England is living under an interdict. So people cannot be blessed in life or death and some have turned to witchcraft to help themselves.

Elena, our young heroine, is given a job in the Manor House by Master Rafaelle, to serve the Lady Anne, but unbeknown to her it is to take the sins of Lady Anne's son, Gerard, through witchcraft.

In turn, Elena must turn to witchcraft as well, when she starts having terrible nightmares in which she sees that she is going to murder her newborn baby.

I really loved that each chapter starts with a little passage from the Mandrakes Herbal.

Elena gets her mandrake from Gytha, the local cunning woman, to help her see the end of her dreams. But she needs to feed it bodily fluids to bring it alive.

All of Karen Maitland's book finished with a huge twist in the tale,
and The Gallows Curse is no exception.

So I can't give too much of the plot away without spoiling the end for you.

I would definitely recommend all of Karen's books and I can't wait to listen to the next one.

Alison xx


  1. I never thought about books on tape. It would sure free up time spent reading, although I find I read faster than anyone reading to me.

    This sounds like a wonderful book. I love historical books, and this sounds like one. And of course, I liked the art drawing, too. Very appropriate for the plot, I suspect.

  2. I recently discovered I like to listen to someone talking while drawing. I have to keep Karen Maitland in mind. The books sound wonderful!
    Your mandrake made me smile, it looks so cute! But aren't mandrakes the screaming 'carrots' from Harry Potter? Those weren't cute at all... :)

  3. I love listening to audio books as they allow my mind to wander, which I find very exhilarating. Your book does sound a good read, especially as it involves folklore and herbal remedies. Mr. Mandrake does look nice and friendly and not very scary and that is all to the good!

    Janet xx

  4. Ooooh this sounds like a great book! and your lil mandrake is super cute :D

  5. I like historical novels, as long as they keep fairly close to historical fact, but am not a lover of magic in a book, so I shall be giving this one a miss. But I enjoyed your review, and your picture of the Mandrake man is very appropriate for the story as you describe it. A good drawing of it.

  6. Magic, history, and herbs? I'm sold! And your art reminded me of the mandrake root in Pann's Labyrinth (with green in it ;-).

    I will definitely pick up the series, and I think that if you haven't watched Pan's Labyrinth, you should give it a go. You might like it quite a bit.

  7. oo sounds a good read and I don't usualy like ones set in english history. Love the mandrake, reminds me of Harry Potter lol

  8. Sounds very me some historical backstabbing...and any character known as "cunning woman" appeals to me lol. Love your image of the mandrake :D XXX

  9. Sounds like a great read. I love surprising twists in a story. :)

  10. When a book can tick all the boxes for you as this one obviously did then what more can you ask. Love your Mandrake root, not sure about feeding it bodily fluids though! Thanks for a great review.

  11. I will have to check it out, sounds brilliant. Love your mandrake drawing too!

  12. Wonderful review and great Mandrake drawing...(looks a bit like our taro (kalo) root)...I enjoy an intriguing historical novel with a bit of magic/mystery thrown in to spice it up...aloha.

  13. Your review makes it sound an interesting book. Good artwork too.
    Jen x

  14. Interesting approach to use a book on tape. I hadn't thought of that. Great review. The book sounds interesting. I love stories from the early times - ten hundreds to 17th century. Loved your artwork. Thanks. Michelle V,

  15. Love the sound of this book Alison... one I would love to read... your artwork is so sweet...

    Jenny ♥

  16. When we have finished all the reviews of the year will you let me know the twist in the tail ;)Lovely art Alison

  17. Another author for me to look out for I suspect ... Sounds good! Love your mandrake too!