The Tribute Bride
A very enjoyable historical novel!
The role of women, even those of high status, is often impossible to track through primary sources. The wives of great chieftains, even queens, are frequently nameless to history and yet their lives as daughters, wives, diplomats, and peaceweavers, brides and mothers to the historically famous, are crucial. Acha, the protagonist of this novel, is one of those invisible women. Bede mentions her once: ‘Oswald was nephew to King Edwin by his sister Acha’. But in reality Acha was one of the major players in the seventh century ‘Game of Thrones’ that culminated in the Kingdom of Northumbria and the cultural renaissance that created the Lindisfarne Gospels.
The author’s storytelling is adept, her characterisation realistic with her alpha males being authentic, pragmatically violent warlords of the time. She has crafted a plausible and very readable story from known facts woven almost imperceptibly with imaginative fiction. It is well researched and includes historical notes at the end of the book. This story is set at a time that has always fascinated me, a crucial point for the creation of what would become England. Tomlinson has succeeded in bringing it to vivid life.