North side of the tree by Maggie Prince

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This is the highly entertaining sequel to Raider’s Tide.  Set in Elizabethan times in northern England and southern Scotland, Beatrice is once again in trouble for helping Robert, who is a Scot and therefore an enemy.   Beatrice fell in love with Robert in Raider’s Tide and helped him to recover from his injuries before assisting him with his escape back to Scotland.

 Meanwhile Bea is falling in love with the village Parson, who had taught her as a child at school.  Torn between her love for John Becker the Parson, her duty to her family and the spectre of Robert’s return for execution, Bea makes some risky decisions and implicates many of those around her. 

 On discovering that Robert has indeed been transported for execution, Bea feels in her heart that she must help him.  Not even an animal deserved to be kept in the damp, dark, rat infested cell that Robert was decaying in.  How could Bea leave him there to rot alive, even if it meant risking being caught and tried for treason?  Bea enlists John’s assistance to help Robert escape and puts all of their lives at risk in the process.   But time is short as Robert has been listed as being put to death at noon the very next day.   Some fast talking and fast work is needed to save Robert’s, Bea’s and John’s necks.   But if Robert escapes execution, who will Beatrice choose?  Loyal, dependable, upstanding John or the violent enemy Robert? 

 North side of the tree, which is so named as the Scots who were hanged in England are hung from the north side so they can see their homeland as they die, is another wonderful book from Maggie Prince.  Suspenseful, moving, entertaining and gripping, North side of the tree again shows the reader Elizabethan England in an engaging manner.  Prince’s style of writing is such that even though some Olde English is used, it is not at the expense of the story.  A glossary of Olde English terms used is provided at the rear of the book.  A wonderful piece of historical fiction, with a strong and determined heroine as the central character.

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