Friday, July 29, 2016

Book review - The Apostate's Tale by Margaret Frazer

Warning:  Contains spoilers!

I don’t know if Margaret Frazer intended this to be the last Dame Frevisse novel, since she passed away in 2013, the final book ends on a high note.  Without giving away the mystery, I’ll just say the last words in the book are “Domina Frevisse, prioress of St. Frideswide’s”.  Okay, enough of the spoilers.

Other than the non-surprising ending, The Apostate’s Tale was a let-down given the excitement of the previous novel, The Traitor’s Tale.  This final installment lacked the politics and intrigue of Henry VI’s disastrous reign, but it also lacked its enjoyability. 

The story takes place entirely within the confines of St Frideswide.  Frevisse isn’t sent away on an errand and her cousin Lady Suffolk isn’t even mentioned.  That being said, there really wasn’t much mystery to this novel.  The story centered around an apostate nun who had fled St. Frideswide nine years before with a man, and is back with young son in tow.

The sisters are none too happy to see her and send for Abbot Gilberd, Domina Elisabeth’s brother to help them with what to do with Sister Cecely.  Thrown into the mix are a young woman who wants to be a nun (much against her mother’s wishes) and Sister Cecely’s paramour’s family, who think she has stolen important papers from them.

All right, one more spoiler:  There is no murder in The Apostate’s Tale.  Only two close calls.  And the solution isn’t a total surprise.

I was really expecting something more from Frazer’s final Frevisse tale.

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