As ever, thanks to Blogs of a Bookaholic for creating this challenge. 🙂
My Mum has several books that she read whilst growing up and then passed on to me when I was little. The Wool-Pack by Cynthia Harnett is one of them. It’s also the most well-thumbed of the lot- it’s starting to fall apart!
The Wool-Pack is set in the Cotswolds (in England), 1493. It follows Nicholas Fetterlock, a wool-merchant’s son who’s recently been betrothed to a cloth merchant’s daughter, called Cecily. However trouble is brewing as Nicholas’ father has been set up by Lombards and some mysterious others who intend to put him out of business and buy up his lands.
In order to prove his father’s innocence, Nicholas and Cecily have to discover not only how the schemers intend to frame his father, but also have to work out a way to undermine their dastardly scheme.
It sounds dry bones for a children’s book, but there’s a je ne sais quoi about it that’s kept me coming back to it for over a decade.
The story is gentle and easy to follow, which is probably the thing that attracted me to it in the first place. It’s one of those ones that you know is never going to have truly nail-biting moments (rather like a Richard Curtis film) but you’re still going to be emotionally invested enough in the characters to care about what happens to them.
The details are historically accurate; Harnett gained a reputation for thoroughly researching the period she was writing about to ensure that every detail she included was accurate. Indeed, some of her other stories have been described as only having a plot so that she can hang all the cool details about the period on to it.
It’s this attention to detail (and the coolness of the details) that stirred my interest in historical fiction, especially the crime/ detective stuff… Actually, looking back on it, this book is single-handedly responsible for my subsequent devouring of Geoffery Trease and Ellis Peters’ work. That’s actually rather cool!
Anyone else traced back their interest in a genre to one book/series?