July 13, 2012

Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

4 white chocolate macadamia nut cookies.

Cover Love:  Yes.  The model used for Luca is seriously the reason I picked up this book.

Why I Wanted to Read This:  My students like medieval fantasy stuff so I thought I would give this one a try.  Plus, the cover.  Here's the synopsis from GoodReads:

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.    

Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.     
I Kept Reading Because:
The history in this book fascinated  me.

Romance?:  Actually, not really.

What I Liked:
I was really fascinated with the history of this book.  Luca is tasked by the church to solve mysteries.  He is very young but because he is assigned by the church he is given a lot of power.  They are basically the police of the age.  No one questioned them because they are empowered by the church.  It was quite scary.

I was also surprised how quickly people believed in the supernatural. There was a logical explanation for everything that Luca uncovered, but the frenzy people felt about what was happening was also scary.

I really liked Luca.  He asked his questions, but was way more observant than people gave him credit for.

Women, also, during this time period were kept way, way down.  Poor Isolde, she was screwed out of everything she was promised by her brother.  But, she was smart and her servant, Ishraq, was educated and together they made a great team.

Even though there was attraction between Isolde and Luca they both had taken vows so neither of them could act on it.  Kind of frustrating for them and for the reader!

To Sum Up:  This is great historical fiction that would be a springboard for lots of discussion!

Book bought for my school library!

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