A Renaissance in the High Middle Ages

First of all, I want to send out another thank you to the folks at Nerdy Book Club and their publication of my guest blog post, “Top Ten Books I Wish I Could Reread for the First Time.”  I’ve gotten some new readers and followers.  I love collaborating with fellow book lovers.

Over the weekend I was unexpectedly called away to my hometown, which left me with a #FirstWorldDilemma: which books would I be reading on the plane?

I have my handy Kindle app fully loaded on my iPad, but a true pet peeve of mine is not being able to read it during the brief  technology suppression on take off and landing.  In addition to that, I have a copy of my required reading for my upcoming summer semester course, Literacy as a Linguistic and Cultural Tool, that I wanted to start: The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.


I made the decision to take the Alexie paperback with me to alleviate my twitchy fingers, all a-fluster without a touch-screen to activate or Twitter feed to scroll through.  Little did I know that I would be so completely enthralled by the story of Arnold Spirit Jr., a Native American teenager trying to assimilate somewhere between his cultural cohorts and the Caucasian classmates at his off-the-rez school.  Before I landed in Michigan, I had completed the 250-page first-person narrative and was left literarily satisfied, but back at square one for reading materials.

The obvious solution would be to simply grow up and wait my ten minutes while my return flight taxied and then read one of the fifty-plus titles on my iPad.  But something had changed within me.  Dramatic, no?  Legitimate, yes.  The entire time that I was home, I was not able to comfortably read from my illuminated version of David Sedaris’ newest title, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.


What was happening?  I couldn’t read for more than five minutes at a time, and that was being generous.  I missed the physicality of reading, being able to feel the accumulation of pages.  When nobody was looking, I pulled my copy of The Absolute True Story of a Part-Time Indian to my nose and inhaled.  Ahhhh.  Literacy smells marvelous.

On my way home, I had a brief layover in Charlotte, NC and desperately needed to replace my depleted tactile reading source.  The airport version of a Walmart, a stand where you can buy headphones, apples, gift cards, and hoodies featuring the town/airport of choice, and licorice all from the same facility, called to me.  I walked in and picked out a turkey sandwich, bottle of water, and this:


This is the first time that I have read anything from Philippa Gregory, but I do follow fellow blogger Cely at Running Off the Reeses, and she’s been the town cryer in favor of Ms. Gregory and her ability to produce engaging historical fiction.

(Summary via Goodreads.com)

The Kingmaker’s Daughter is the gripping story of the daughters of the man known as the “Kingmaker,” Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick: the most powerful magnate in fifteenth-century England. Without a son and heir, he uses his daughters, Anne and Isabel as pawns in his political games, and they grow up to be influential players in their own right. In this novel, her first sister story since The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory explores the lives of two fascinating young women.

At the court of Edward IV and his beautiful queen, Elizabeth Woodville, Anne grows from a delightful child to become ever more fearful and desperate when her father makes war on his former friends. Married at age fourteen, she is soon left widowed and fatherless, her mother in sanctuary and her sister married to the enemy. Anne manages her own escape by marrying Richard, Duke of Gloucester, but her choice will set her on a collision course with the overwhelming power of the royal family and will cost the lives of those she loves most in the world, including her precious only son, Prince Edward. Ultimately, the kingmaker’s daughter will achieve her father’s greatest ambition.

I am only on page 60 of this wonderful novel, but I am hooked.  I found myself wanting to check out every single copy of Philippa Gregory’s shelf at our local library, but was ushered away by my husband, knowing better than I that reading books is like potato chips: once you start, you just can’t stop AND if you try to take too much at one time, you’ll be up all night (preferably in two different rooms).

One thought on “A Renaissance in the High Middle Ages

  1. Pingback: The Kingmaker’s Daughter Review | Forever Within the Numbered Pages

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