Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sharon reviews The Wolf Banner

Today sees the release of The Wolf Banner by Paula Lofting. The author has kindly donated 2 e-books as prizes in our giveaway and will also offer an ebook of Sons of the Wolf if the winners do not have a copy. To be in with the chance of winning this fabulous book, simply leave a comment below or on our Facebook Page. Good luck!





WAR AND BLOODFEUD
1056...England lurches towards war as the rebellious Lord Alfgar plots against the indolent King Edward. Sussex thegn, Wulfhere, must defy both his lord, Harold Godwinson, and his bitter enemy, Helghi, to protect his beloved daughter.
As the shadow of war stretches across the land, a more personal battle rages at home, and when it follows him into battle, he knows he must keep his wits about him more than ever, and COURAGE AND FEAR MUST BECOME HIS ARMOUR…  


The Wolf Banner is the second book in Paula Lofting's marvellous Sons of the Wolf series which tells the story of Saxon England in the years preceding the Norman Conquest. It follows the trials and tribulations of one family; Wulfhere, his wife and children. A thegn sworn to Harold Godwinson, Wulfhere has responsibilities to his king, his lord and his family, while trying to overcome his own fears, temptations and one big problem; his neighbour and sworn enemy, Helghi.
The Wolf Banner builds on the first book, to draw the reader further into Wulfhere's life, the highs and lows, into battles with swords and words. It is a fabulous adventure, full of family heartache, compromise and love, while never losing sight of the bigger picture; of England and the struggles of Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, both against his enemies and his king.


Paula Lofting is a natural story-teller who has put her heart into her characters. They are all-too-real. Human. Wulfhere's family are as dysfunctional as the rest of us. With bullying twins, sibling rivalries - and friendships - and adults who aren't quite sure what to do for the best. Beset by insecurities, temptations, feelings of despair and a desire for revenge the family dynamic leaves the reader nodding in understanding and sympathy.
The characters are so full of life, it's almost as if they will jump out of the page at you at any moment. I'm sure every reader will have their favourite. Mine has to be Tovi; the middle child - just like me - eager to please and desperate to be a warrior like his father. His sister, Winflaed, comes a close second; another middle child who is eager to please, she has a spark of independence that makes you want to smile. And that rebellious streak of a tom-boy who knows she can do everything her brother can - and is going to prove it. I can only hope that these two wonderful characters will become the stars of later books.
But Wulfhere is more than his family. He is a thegn with duties to his lord - Harold Godwinson - and to his king, Edward the Confessor. He is the leader of a war-band who have to face down England's enemies from within and without. And the book seethes with the tension of brewing war, battles now and in the future - and a father whose two sons must stand in the shield wall for the first time.

The tension is palpable.


The Wolf Banner is the epitome of story-telling. Every now and then there is paragraph, where the descriptive prose is so clear, palpable, that it will send a shiver up your spine. Full of lively characters and plenty of action, the story is told in wonderful, colourful prose which sets the scene and dictates the atmosphere. It paints the picture of an everyday, dysfunctional family life that we can all relate to - even today, a thousand years later.
Ealdgytha kissed her daughter on both cheeks. Freyda hardly responded and not even a smile passed her lips. If she was hurt by her daughter's lack of emotion, Ealdgytha did not show it. She smiled, regardless, and kissed her new son-in-law. She bade them both farewell as they climbed onto the wagon that held their wedding gifts and Freyda's belongings.
"Remember what I told you, my girl; be good to your husband. Love him, and treat him well, even above yoursself," Ealdgytha whispered to her daughter as she stood beside the wagon.
"As well as you have treated my father, Mother?" Freyda replied with a glint of contempt. "I think I can manage better than that; much better."

The Wolf Banner achieves a wonderful balance between the political and domestic life of Wulfhere. It is a fascinating story of duty, family and history. Triumph and tragedy, love and betrayal live side-by-side.
The story moves at an incredible pace, with the worsening political situation of England woven into the story of a family tearing itself apart. And yet, the family must pull together to survive. I hesitate to call any book a 'tour de force' but The Wolf Banner is unique, it is an incredible story of one family's journey in pre-Conquest England. It draws you in, forces you to live through the experiences and dramas of the family; their loves, losses and even their arguments become a part of you as you read, almost one of your own family.
The storyline, descriptions, the dialogue and Wulfhere’s family combine to make this a novel to treasure.
Let's hope there is more to come.....

 About the author:

Paula Lofting was born in Middlesex and brought up in South Australlia. At the age of 16 she returned to the country of her birth where she always dreamed of writing a historical novel. Her dream was not realised until nearly thirty years later when she finally set about writing her first novel, Sons of the Wolf, which she first published in 2012. She has recently re-published it under a new publishing name of Longship and the sequel The Wolf Banner is available from 20th August 2016. Paula is also writing a series of blog posts to commemorate the 950th anniversary of 1066 this year, which can be found on her website, paulalofting.com.

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 Sharon Bennett Connolly has been a reviewer for The Review since 2015. Fascinated by history for over 30 years she has studied the subject both academically and  just for the joy of it - and has even worked as a tour guide at historical sites. She is now having great fun passing that love of the past to her 11-year-old son; visiting abbeys, hunting dragons in medieval castles and searching for fossils at the beach. Having received a blog, History . . . the Interesting Bits, as a present for Christmas 2014, she is now enjoying sharing her obsession of history with her readers and currently working on her first book Heroines of the Medieval World due for release in 2017.


5 comments:

  1. Good luck with the launch and the book, dear Paula. I hope you can relax now and reap the rewards of your efforts.

    From Sharon's review it sounds as good or maybe even better than the first one.

    Your characters really rock. So do you, Boss Lady.

    PS. Please may I win??

    Diana

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  2. Great review of a great book Sharon

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  3. Great review of the book sharon, so sorry I missed the launch, It looked like it went well :)

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  4. Great review, I'm going to relish reading this book!

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