Fun fact: To this day, this is the review request that tops my list of “most impressive review requests”.
Not that that’s an actual list…
But when Dorinda contacted me a while ago, I was so impressed with the amount of consideration she handle it with. Not only had she gone through my reviews and seen if there were any books similar to hers, but she also quoted my reviews to me and explained how. And I just feel like that needs to be pointed out, because so often review requests are so blunt and barely thought through – thank you Dorinda, for actually taking the time to do that.
So when I saw the review she’d compared it to was Outlander – one of my favourites – I leapt at the chance to read this book. I love a historical fiction, and so here we are today.
Let’s dive into The Cavalier Historian!
Title: The Cavalier Historian
Author: Dorinda Blachin
Publisher: Self Published
Series Status: Standalone
Genre: Historical Fiction, Supernatural
Number of Pages: 382
(Found on Goodreads)
Marston Manor is an old house which the owner plans to turn into a themed attraction based on the English Civil War. Rob Hardwick is delighted to discover a family link with Marston dating back to King Charles I and the 17th century witch persecutions. But right from the start disturbing events raise mistrust and fear on the estate. Who is trying to halt his plans? Is the sabotage linked to a nearby traveller camp or the sinister appearances of a ghostly woman? And who is Rebekah and why does she have such a hold over Rob? In his dreams Rob lives through the years of the English Civil War, experiencing it all through the eyes of his ancestor Simon. Dreams which begin gently enough in the days leading up to war in 1642 but which become ever more frightening, ending with the terrifying events of the witch trials of 1651. Characters separated by more than three centuries live through war and peace, love and loss, fear and persecution, yet at the very end can they find hope for the future?
*Thank you to the author for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review*
As a lover of history, it was pretty much inevitable I was going to enjoy this book. And though I DO love history, I’m sometimes a bit hesitant going into books like this, just because I don’t tend to remember names and dates, just the story of what happened. So sometimes, it can be a bit overwhelming.
At first, I thought that might be the case with this book. There’s a lot of switching back and forth between present day and the 17th century. It’s not confusing, but there’s a definite difference between the perspectives, as you might expect. I started off liking the present day perspective more, but the further I got into the book, the less I liked the main character, and so my favourite perspective switched to the 17th century.
Why did I like the main character less as I read? Well, unfortunately I can’t explain that without spoilers. But even if I liked him, the 17th century perspective was a lot more eventful anyway, and so it probably would have ended that way.
It’s very heavy on the political history. In that way, it sort of reminds me of Outlander – going back in time, having to suss out the political status of the world back then and whatnot – but that means this book definitely isn’t for everyone. While I personally love it, it did take a fair few pages for me to get back into the book every time I’d put it down. And if you’re not a huge fan of history, it might be harder for you. Though I do think it’s done very well. While “political history” may send shivers down your spine and make you cringe thinking of old school lessons, the 2nd sort of “main” character starts off at a young age. It’s his eyes we see the 17th century from, and so we learn through him what’s going on, when he asks questions as any young child would.
I don’t know much about those times, but it felt accurate. The reactions to religion, societal class, witchcraft and war all made me think of times long ago, and so I had no problems believing it.
Though why did the ghosts talk like they were from ye olde times, even though when we see them alive they talk…somewhat normally? Apparently death makes thee talk as though thine from the good olde Shakespearean times.
All the way through, I was going to rate this book 4 stars. I really loved the story, learning more about civil wars while there were underlying problems giving it a bit of a mix. I enjoyed seeing how the main character, Rob, discovered things, how he pieced this mystery together.
But the ending let me down slightly. Not because it was bad. Just because it felt so…abrupt.
This whole book is spent going back and forth from past to present, trying to find out how they’re connected. And then the entire premise of the story was solved in a page. Even the aftershock of the events seemed to be played down. Everyone just shrugged their shoulders and the world went on as normal. I sat with the book closed on my lap thinking “after all that…that’s it?”
Which as you can imagine, is a bit of a shame.
Though that doesn’t cancel out my enjoyment for the rest of the book. Quite a slow read to plow through, it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing with it being rich in details concerning wars and politics. You get to see characters develop, a mystery unravel, and a king basically run around the UK trying to figure out what the hell is to be done. And that, combined with my love for history, means I enjoyed this book quite a lot.
Rated 3.5/5 stars
Share your thoughts!
Have you read this book? What did you think?
If you haven’t, do you think it’s something you’ll add to your TBR?
Do you know of any other books set in the 17th century that you’d recommend?
Let me know in the comments!
Until next time…
Come and visit me!