Song for Eloise
Eloise’s life in 12th-century France is happy until at fifteen she is married to a man twice her age. Her political match to Robert has nothing to do with love. She is a young girl, whilst he, a hardened warrior, has strived hard to earn his castle and a bride of good breeding. Eloise becomes homesick for her family and home. Despite the birth of her son she still cannot find joy; a fact that Robert is achingly aware of. He employs a young troubadour, Thomas, to cheer her up, unaware that the boy is a childhood friend of Eloise. Robert is no fool and sees the life return to his wife’s eyes when she looks upon Thomas. This is a sad tale of unfulfilled love told in a poetic and imaginative style. Although the book is quite short it is extremely effective.
The novel unfolds in short snapshots, giving the reader a chance to see the story from many perspectives. This works well because of the skill of the writer. It enables the reader to see that characters who appear to be menacing in one viewpoint can have a caring side too. All dimensions of life, culture, characters and plot are revealed through carefully chosen words. None are wasted. Every sentence creates a window into which the reader can look to experience life in this bygone world revealed. This is an excellent book for competent KS3 readers or GCSE students to study and learn how to use language to create an informative and emotive tale.
Early Medieval (to 1337)