The First Blast of the Trumpet by Marie Macpherson


The First Blast of the Trumpet by Marie Macpherson
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (400 pgs)
Rating: Best Book
Reviewed by Water Lily

Hailes Castle, 1511. Midnight on a doom-laden Halloween and Elisabeth Hepburn, feisty daughter of the Earl of Bothwell, makes a wish—to wed her lover, the poet David Lindsay. But her uncle has other plans. To safeguard the interests of the Hepburn family, she is to become a nun and succeed her aunt as Prioress of St. Mary’s Abbey, Haddington. However, plunged into the political maelstrom and religious turmoil of the early Scottish Reformation, her life there is hardly one of quiet contemplation. But her greatest struggle is against her godson, John Knox. Witnessing his rejection of the Roman Catholic Church, she despairs that the sins of her past may have contributed to his present disenchantment. As he purges himself from the puddle of papistry, Knox finds his voice, denouncing everything he once held dear, but will that include his godmother, Prioress Elisabeth?

Sometimes I open a book, read the first couple of lines and congratulate myself on picking a really, really good read. Then I giggle to myself, lock the bedroom door and dive in. That was my experience with Marie Macpherson’s The First Blast of the Trumpet, because…as the first line states, “There’s no rhyme nor reason to it. Your destiny is already laid doon.” At least mine was by opening the book.

I connected with the characters instantly and was pulled into the book from the opening scene. I loved the slightly awkward, historical language and found it added to the texture of the book. The multiple points of view included on most pages might cause some readers problems, but it did not give me pause. It brought to life characters whose time was limited but whose part in the story was essential. I found myself thinking of this book and the characters when I wasn’t reading—a true sign of a good book in my opinion.

If you like well researched, rich, historical stories full of the sights, sounds and scents of a past era, embroiling real people in the messy mélange of honest emotions and frequently misguided ambitions that make up human history, then this may well be the book for you. I certainly enjoyed it. Frankly, this is my preferred way of learning about the past. History through the eyes of those who lived it. Ms. Macpherson brought early 16th century Scotland to life and showed how the Battle of Flodden was truly the first blast of the trumpet that changed the course of Scottish history. I highly recommend The First Blast of the Trumpet.

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