Happy publication day to The Alewives by Elizabeth R Andersen #mystery #historicalmystery #newrelease Highly Recommended

Here’s the blurb

Colmar, 1353 CE

Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!

Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.

Purchase Link

My Review

The Alewives is a fantastically well-written murder mystery set in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death, with delightful characters and a sinister murderer and thief, at the heart of all the problems. Set in the tannery area of Colmar, something smells bad.

The three main characters of Gritta, Appel, and Efi are all glorious creations – Grita with her useless husband and horde of children (she had 12, you see), Appel with her mysterious nighttime activities, and young Efi, who has the sense of a young kid goat at the beginning of the tale.

This story is immersive and filled with just enough tension and humour to make even a story about those who survived the Black Death an absolute delight to read. The humour is well constructed, the antics of the three women, acting a little outside the ‘law’ in a deeply patriarchal society that doesn’t allow women to brew their own ale for profit, artfully created, and even the Friar, Wikerus, is a sympathetic character, in the end. The three women are put upon. Society is against them, as is the sheriff (all the male characters are dismissive of the women, but they get on with it, doing all they can to circumnavigate the obstacles placed in their path), and the church, and just about everyone else, but they triumph.

The mystery itself is really well constructed, as are the red herrings. I didn’t know who the culprit(s) (no spoilers here) were until the big reveal.

A short, sharp, snappy, hugely entertaining, medieval mystery that portrays the realities of life at the time, with just the right amount of humour to make it thoroughly entertaining. A well-deserved 5/5 from me!

Meet the Author

Elizabeth R. Andersen’s debut novel, The Scribe, launched in July of 2021. Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in her life: writing and history. She finally decided to do something about this and put them both together.

Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her long-suffering husband and young son. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters.

– Join Elizabeth’s monthly newsletter and receive the first two chapters of The Scribe for free. Sign up at https://www.elizabethrandersen.com

– Find photos of hikes and daily author life at Elizabeth’s Instagram: @elizabethrandersen 

– Follow Elizabeth on Twitter for nerdy medieval history facts: @E_R_A_writes 

– Watch Elizabeth try to explain the weird, wonderful world of Medieval life on her TikTok channel: https://www.tiktok.com/@elizabethrandersen

Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

Find my previous blog posts here for The Scribe and here for The Two Daggers Series.

Happy release day and review for The Amir by Elizabeth R Andersen (The Two Daggers book 3) #histfic #NewRelease

Here’s the blurb:

Acre has fallen.

In the frantic days after the Mamluk army brutally sacked their city, Sidika and Emre find themselves in Egypt at the house of an ambitious amir to Sultan al-Ashraf Khalil. Emre, reinstated to his position in the Mamluk army, plays a dangerous game, pitting the sultan’s amirs against each other in a bid to increase his influence in the royal court. Sidika, captured as a slave, can only think of Henri and escape. But when Emre comes up with a risky plan to help her flee Cairo, how far is she willing to go for her freedom?

Henri, now living in Francia among hostile relatives, dreams of finding Sidika and ransoming her, but he cannot avoid a nobleman’s duties: arranged marriage awaits him. As he attempts to settle into his new life, a group of outcasts arrives in Maron, causing an uproar. By protecting them, Henri does what he knows is right, but the consequences could be deadly.

Love, lust, revenge, and loss push Henri, Sidika, and Emre toward adulthood in the third book in The Two Daggers series, following them through social and political turbulence at the sunset of the Levantine crusades.

My Review

The Amir by Elizabeth R Andersen, is a thoroughly engrossing read. I’m not a stranger to what happened during The Crusades, but in The Amir, the author has chosen three main characters who can provide interconnected and unique perspective on what it must have been like for those affected by the fall of Acre.

I found the reimagining of Egypt to be thoroughly engrossing, and I read it at a time when I was also reading a Roman era novel set in Egypt, and when Death on the Nile was released at the cinema, and so I really could imagine the heat and the sand, and the crocodiles!

Poor Henri, travelling to a land he’s never visited, really does seem incapable of doing anything right, and with a collection of relatives who wish him harm, I really felt for him, even while he frustrated me. Both Henri and Sidika, while one is a nobleman, and one a slave, are truly trapped by the events that have befallen them in their lives.

It is Sidika and her experiences that really thrilled during the novel. She is an incredibly strong character, and I can’t wait to read more of her story in book 4.

An engrossing story, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. I wish Elizabeth R Andersen every success with the release of her new book. You can check out her blog tour post for the series here from earlier in the year.

Buy Link:

Meet the author

Elizabeth R. Andersen’s debut novel, The Scribe, launched in July of 2021. Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in her life: writing and history. She finally decided to do something about this and put them both together. 

Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her long-suffering husband and young son. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters. Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.

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