Review: Five Wounds by Katharine Edgar

Historical, Recommendations, Review
Image from Goodreads
Title: Five Wounds
Author: Katharine Edgar
Publisher: Greengate Books
Publication Date: March 2015
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Synopsis from Goodreads
It is 1536. The north of England has boiled over into rebellion against Henry VIII. Sixteen year old Nan Ellerton must choose – help the rebels, even though it could mean paying the brutal penalty for treason, or betray her beliefs and risk eternal damnation.
Five Wounds is a novel for teenagers that tells a story of adventure, passion and courage, set against the background of the Pilgrimage of Grace.
Five Wounds is a historical fiction novel set during the 1536 “Pilgrimage of Grace”, a mass uprising in northern England (focussed on Yorkshire) against Henry VIII’s policies of breaking with the Roman Catholic Church and dissolving its monasteries. This book covers the complex events through the eyes of a young girl with a refreshingly different point of view.
Nan Ellerton is a young girl about to be unwillingly married when the Pilgrimage strikes and the tale of her modestly noble Tudor life is convincingly rendered. She has spent time in a nunnery and thoroughly believes in relics, monks, nuns, and all the things the policy of the day is against. She is indistinguishably blended into the thick of the pilgrimage and its aftermath.
The character I like best is Henry Hutton, the only character, at least initially, who manages to be both a good, honest, loving man and a successful one. He tries to be kind to everyone throughout, not that it does him much good. My favourite part of the tale is when Nan is on the run from the Duke of Norfolk’s man with the poor blacksmith pilgrim Will Shepherdson. His point of view is fascinating and their traditional adventure is wonderfully simple against the main story line’s complicatedness.
I found that some minor characters were slightly alike and as there were a lot of them I sometimes found this a little confusing. However, this is a small issue. For young adult fiction, it did have a very adult feel, but I for one actually liked this. Also, on some occasions I thought that the first person focus was slightly limiting, as events in others of the many diverse but connected settings than the one which Nan is in are glossed over. Although I occasionally found this slightly annoying, it is not a problem as in other ways I loved the realistic first person outlook.
I really enjoyed this book and if I saw another book by the author I would read it. I think that the book is probably best suited to older teenagers. I would give this novel 4 stars.

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