Sunday, March 13, 2011

Children’s Books: A Sword in Her Hand by Jean-Claude van Rijckeghem and Pat van Beirs

A Sword in Her Hand (Annick Press) is deliciously refreshing. No vampires or werewolves, and not a zombie in sight. In their place, political intrigue in 14th century Flanders, through the eyes of a strong-willed, wrong-born young woman.

Aimed for readers aged 12 and up, A Sword in Her Hand is sufficiently satisfying to please the most demanding reader. Well-paced and well-translated (by award-winning translator John Nieuwenhuizen) A Sword in Her Hand finds Marguerite growing up under the eye of her disapproving father, the Count of Flanders, who is perpetually disappointed in his daughter for not being the son he needs. So, in a way, Marguerite becomes the son he can never have: competing fiercely in the violently male world of medieval Flanders. She does so until her father once again intervenes: coming forward with unacceptable plans for his daughter’s future in order to further his own political ambitions.

A Sword in Her Hand will please all readers. Don’t just give this one to your young readers who appreciate historical fiction, but to any who have stated their enjoyment in a good book. This one has it all: romance, adventure, excitement. It’s a very special book.◊

Sienna Powers is a transplanted Calgarian who lives and works in Vancouver, B.C. She is a writer and conceptual artist.

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