11 Sept 2022

Review of Man of Sorrows by M.N. Stroh

Tale of the Clans #1

Would God command a devout monk to wed a shepherdess?

Ireland 940 AD

Others think young shepherdess Mara fey. No one else in her Clan hears the voices or sees mysterious visitors. But she knows the messengers come from God. Mara commits to keep silent about them until one proclaims she will marry a man meant to bring Scriptural truth to their Clan.

Distraught by her hardships, Mara seeks aid from her childhood friend, Marcan mac Art, a scribe at Cill Dálua’s monastic community who spends his days laboring to create illuminated manuscripts. Yet, in their time of prayer together, the angelic being’s promise unfolds, revealing Marcan as her intended. Now she must somehow sway Marcan, a devout monk, that God predestined them to wed.

Through penance and devotion, Marcan hopes to blot out the burdens of the past and attain righteousness. Mara’s misguided beliefs cast new stumbling blocks in his path. He seeks escape by denying the vices of the flesh. Yet every attempt drives him further from those he loves—and from God. Will the endless trials drown his faith or render illumination?


 My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

M.N. Stroh's debut novel was a well-written, authentic, and fascinating trip to 10th century Ireland. Part romance, part historical adventure, part coming-of-age story this book has a little something that should pull in everyone.

Mara and Macan were great protagonists, although I found Macan a little more interesting because of the insights that his story gave into life an Early Medieval (look at me using specialist terms) Irish Monastery. There are also some pepperings of political events in the background of this story which might become more prominent in the next few books.

I'd recommend this to all lovers of historical fiction who want more than just another romance.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the author. This did not influence my review and all opinions expressed are my own.

View all my reviews

 Visit the Author's Website today: https://mnstroh.com/
Blog: https://mnstroh.com/blog/




2 Sept 2022

First Line Fridays: Unfinished Tales of Numenor and Middle Earth by J.R.R Tolkien

 I have not participated in First Line Fridays in over a year. FLF is a hosted by Carrie over at Reading is My Superpower and involves sharing the First Line of a book you are currently reading. 

I've been wanting to get back into doing First Line Friday posts for ages, and now just seems the best time. For a little bit of context, I've joined a movement that has decided to respond the the release of the Rings of Power series with a little bit of a protest. 

Call it a literary protest. Instead of watching the show, we're going to read or listen to something by J.R.R Tolkien. Don't let that put you off! I have nothing against anyone who decides to watch the series, its just I have chosen not to. 

There just seems to be something disrespectful about releasing it on the anniversary of the day that Tolkien passed away (September 2nd, 1973). 

So today, I am sharing the first line of the one of the only major works of Tolkien's that I have not yet read: 

                          Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth


The name is self - explanatory. Its a collection of unfinished stories which were edited by J.R.R Tolkien's son Christopher and published posthumously.

I have skipped the Introduction for my First Line, and taken in from the first section of the Book.  A Tale entited Of Tuor and his Coming To Gondolin.


 Don't be put off again by all that, these are just the names of some characters from the First Age of Tolkien's world. Huor was a human warrior, Rian was his wife and they had a son called Tuor. 

This Tuor was tasked with going to a hidden Elf city called Gondolin to warn them of impending danger. He eventually ended up falling in love with and marrying the daughter of the King of Gondolin, an Elven Princess called Idril. 

To cut a long story short, Gondolin was besieged by the Dark Lord Morgoth, the satan figure in Tolkien's world. He was led there by a turncoat Elf called Meaglin.
The story of the Fall of Gondolin is awesome. There's an army of dragons and Balrogs, there's an Elf warrior callled Glorfindel who duels a balrog (I know!). 

Oh, and the Elven princesss dons armour in defense of her people. Idril and Tuor were also the grandparents of Elrond!

I also have the audiobook of this title, narrated by Timothy and Samuel West. What a treat! 

What's your first line? Do you think me a showoff for reading Tolkien?


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