March 08, 2013

Circle of Stones by Anna Lee Waldo

I've read the hefty beast that is Waldo's "Sacajawea". And having enjoyed that, I decided to give this first book in a series of hers a try. I wasn't nearly as thrilled with it, although it wasn't terrible.

Brenda is a young mistress of Prince Owain, who rules over Wales. On an auspicious night, she becomes pregnant with her third child but then is unlucky enough to give birth to a son at the same time Owain's other two women give birth to sons. Because of a talk earlier, Owain decides only one son may live so Brenda flees to a Druid encampment. Forces out of her control make her have to go back to Owain's court and leave young Madoc behind, where he will be fostered away from her for years.

Brenda is a mix of intelligent and "what the heck were you thinking". And we are constantly told how wise she is. I personally prefer to be shown, and there's only a little of that for her character. In fact, she always takes the road of least resistance, and it can end up hurting those around her. Owain is a weird person and completely unwise. He seems more concerned with pride than anything else, and that's kind of disappointing. Madoc, for being such an important character to the story, isn't in it very much. And we always see him through Brenda's eyes so there aren't any flaws to be found either. There were a ton of other characters too and at times I got them confused with each other. There were just so many. A lot were based on real people though, and I did enjoy learning a bit more about them than I knew before.

Waldo is gifted with lots and lots of words. While this isn't as long as some of her other books, it does tend to go on and on quite a bit. In fact, I had a hard time getting into this book at first because I was bored by the endless detail. But the further I got in the better it got. I became captivated by Brenda's tale and even while I was frustrated at times I still wanted to know what happened. She even got down to the nitty gritty on Druid medicine. That description is in everything and there is murder, sex, violence, and other such things in this book. Those at least aren't overly descriptive but they're still there. The history I can't say is all correct, I don't know enough about that period of time or region, but it seems like she did do a lot of research for the book. And she was kind enough to list her sources by type.

An ok book. I don't think it told the terrific tale that Sacajawea did, but it still chronicled a very strong woman's life. I might pick up the second book if I come across it.

Circle of Stones
Copyright 1999
432 pages

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