Ceridwen Of Kilton

Written by Octavia Randolph
Review by Sarah Nesbeitt

Ceridwen, daughter of a Mercian ealdorman, is sixteen years old in the year 872, a time when King Ælfred ruled England. Twice blessed, Ceridwen is the beloved wife of Gyric of Kilton and the mother of his newborn son. However, all is far from perfect. Gyric is discontented, as he cannot come to terms with the blindness he has suffered at the hands of the Danes. Ceridwen also becomes unexpectedly caught up in issues much larger than herself, such as her sister-in-law’s barrenness, the struggle to survive in a time of brutality and violence, and her own divided loyalties.

Despite the historical detail prevalent throughout the book, and the obvious effort of the author in making her language seem authentic, the novel is not weighed down in the least. It is a pleasantly smooth read that will give readers an excellent feel for the era. Though the pacing is uneven at times, my main complaint is that this novel is too much a sequel; we learn little about why Ceridwen is so strongly desired by three very different men. Still, this novel will satisfy those seeking fiction set in a sadly under-used historical period. (The first volume of the series, The Circle of Ceridwen, is available in full via the author’s web site, www.octavia.net.)