And Tomorrow Is A Hawk
Finn’s captivating story of a high-spirited woman named Julyana Berners is largely told by Julyana herself, the daughter of an old country lineage who’s been brought to misery by a series of tragedies Finn unfolds with patient skill. Luck is on Julyana’s side, however, and she finds herself a guest of King Richard and his kindly Queen Anne in a late 14th-century England only recently ravaged by plague. Julyana becomes adept at chronicling her own story (and her fly-on-the-wall observations about the royal court, sections of the book given wonderful substance by the evident extent of Finn’s research) because she has the best of all possible teachers: Geoffrey Chaucer.
The King, the Queen, the various nobles like de Vere and Bolingbroke, and of course Chaucer himself all fill out Finn’s large and skillfully-handled cast of characters. “Is life a river or a road?” Julyana asks in one of the chapters that speak with her voice, and that voice will guarantee that readers want to keep her company as her life unfolds in this utterly memorable evocation of Plantagenet England. Highly recommended.