MicroReview: The Novice’s Tale

The Novice’s Tale is the first in the ongoing series of Sister Frevisse mysteries, featuring a fifteenth-century English nun who also happens to be the great-niece (by marriage) of Geoffrey Chaucer.  Intrigued?  I was, and am glad to have made the acquaintance of this shrewd, witty, and wise hosteler of St. Frideswide.  In this first novel, murder accompanies an arrogant guest at the monstery, just weeks before the community’s only novice takes her vows, and Sister Frevisse must reveal the murderer to remove the novice from suspicion.  Believable characters, a fun plot, and an unusual historical setting make for quick, enjoyable reading with a contemplative bent.  Fun fact: the series was created by two women writing under the penname of Margaret Frazer, but partway through the series one writer moved on and the other has retained the name and continued alone—for the better, say some reviewers.  I’ll let you know if I agree as I make my way through the series.  The seventeenth volume, The Apostate’s Tale, released last year.

07. May 2009 by Mindy
Categories: Reviews | 5 comments

Comments (5)

  1. I tried these books several years ago and just couldn’t get into them. But, I have a friend who just *loves* them.

  2. Yeah, I understand both reactions. I wasn’t bowled over, but it was nice to find another “light reading” series that wasn’t all fluff (another one I like for the same reason is Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books). And for me, it also makes a difference where I am in life when I first encounter a series. I tried Susan Howatch a few years ago and didn’t like her, but then tried again last year and loved her. It’s fun to surprise myself!

  3. You know, I love historicals but typically only go back so far. I just read a Brother Cadfael book though and it was fabulous and I was thinking of other medieval mysteries. I’ll have to keep this one on my radar! :)

  4. Thanks for mentioning Brother Cadfael, Iliana. I keep meaning to pick up one of those and haven’t gotten around to it — but I have a feeling I’d enjoy them.

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