By Mark Shelley
Published August 13th 2008 by Hesperus Press Ltd
Paperback, 112 pages
4 on 5!
In the title story, a knight living alone in his isolated mountain fortress shows hospitality toward two pilgrims who appear from the mountains seeking shelter. Entreated to tell them of his sorrow, the knight unburdens himself and relates a tragic tale of love and loss. Resigned to the bitter fate that life has dealt him, the knight is unaware of the true nature of the two young people’s pilgrimage, until a revelation transforms his understanding of his past and reveals the possibility of a new future. Four other short stories by Shelley are also included: "The Dream," "The False Rhyme," "The Invisible Girl," and "The Mourner."
A HUGE THANK YOU goes to the Challenge Host of 09 for 09' challenge Isabel. I won this in the giveaway there! And I got all the goodies that you see in the pic on the right! YAY!
It is really awesome to win surprise goodies at giveaways :-)!
Now to the book review :-)
Mark Shelley is more famous for Frankenstein, ah yes, now you remember :). This one however is no where like Frankenstein, as the blurb suggests it is a collection of 4 very short stories. This classic comes with a forward written by Kamila Shamsie, which I found really encouraging and good. I have tried in recent past unsuccessfully to read many classics, and I for the same reasons was scared to pick this one. The only encouraging thing I felt about the book was that it was ONLY 112 pages. Well, I must also say that Kamila's forward was good and she really did push me to read it :-)
The 1st story "The Pilgrims" has a widowed father bringing up a beautiful daughter. The daughter however chooses to elope with her father's enemies son. Which brings immense sorrow to both the father and the daughter. The daughter lives her life in deep pain and the only thing that keeps her going is the slight hope that her father will forgive and accept her family on day.
The 2nd story "The Dream" is the story of a Constance who has lost her Father and Brother to a bloody battle, in which the enemies was her beloved's army. She blames herself and there courtship for what really happened to her family.
The 3rd story "The False Rhyme" is the shortest of them all. I actually have to say I really liked this one. I thought it was clever and a suspense was knit and brilliantly executed in 4 pages! In this the Queen and her brother make a bet in which the Queen has to find her most faithful and favorite maids of honor, whose husband was punished by the Queen's brother and soon after she eloped with a handsome guy. They try everything to find her so as to extract an explanation to such unvirtuous act on her end.
The 4th story "The Invisible Girl" was the story of love between an orphan girl and a boy who were both bought up by the boy's father. I really don't want to say more, in fear of giving away. But what stuck me most in this has to be the father's thinking. I really felt pity for him.
The 5th story "The Mourner" was really touching. I really felt bad for the main protagonist. I am not going to give you any details simply because I have no idea how to surmise it here without giving anything away!
In the forward Kamila Shamsie, actually tells us a lot about Mark Shelley and how each of the stories are her own stories. I really loved this book. The stories are predictable but the writing is excellent and the portrayal of the unrelenting love that a woman's heart has is very touching. The pain surely comes from the love that a women has, don't you think?!
Highly Recommended for all classic lovers.