The Sister and the Daughter
In the time of the Black Death, a small Roma family travel halfway around the world until they arrive in England. Their journey is dogged by suspicion, danger and a new plague that is laying waste to the world. When they finally stop in a village and the pestilence catches up with them, they find themselves surrounded by fear and ignorance. The villagers do not know whether to blame the newcomers for the deaths or ask for their help, for their magic.
In the shadow of the Manor, dominated by the feudal lord and watched over by his beautiful daughter, Lady Eleanor, they fight for survival. When the Manor gates are locked to save those inside from the Plague, the peasants are left outside the walls to die. Eleanor’s fascination for the new arrivals, especially the wild Roma boy, tips the scales of justice. If this plague is bringing her world to an end then perhaps she should abandon her family, forego her destiny and surrender to her passion.
The Sister And The Daughter is a portrayal of religion and nobility ruling the lives of fourteenth-century villagers, and how these came unstuck during a time of great suffering. The plague is the culprit, but the arrival of strangers into this already distressing situation succeeds in turning village life upside down. I enjoyed the spiritual quality of Kal, Shandor and Sofia because it represented the villagers’ view of them being from another world. Although their treatment of the foreign Romani is so obviously narrow-minded, it is still a mindset that is prevalent in pockets of today’s society, which shows how ingrained in human nature is fear of the unknown.
I enjoyed the author’s writing style, and found the story tripped along at a decent pace, with imaginative descriptions and lively dialogue. I would recommend that the author revisited the design of the book though, as this almost distracted from an otherwise intriguing story.