Thursday, January 12, 2017

Norah Lofts - A Wayside Tavern

3. A Wayside Tavern by Norah Lofts (1980)
Length: 376 pages 
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Started: 5 January 2017
Finished: 12 January 2017
Where did it come from? From a Library Book Sale
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 10 October 2000
Why do I have it? I like historical fiction and have read and enjoyed several books by this author in the past.

Paulus, a crippled Roman soldier deserted by his legion at the end of the Roman occupation of Britain, and Gilda, a former slave girl - dedicate a wine shop with a mosaic-patterned floor to Mithras - the god whom the soldier worships. So it was from such humble beginnings that the 'One Bull at Mallow' was born. Yet, from the fourth century right down to present-day Suffolk, the building has remained in the hands of one particular family, known as the Gildersons. And, through the years the building has served a variety of different purposes: wine shop, ale house, coaching inn, hotel, and a pub of varying reputation - yes, the One Bull at Mallow has always provided respite for many weary travelers during its long and rich history.

Just across the inn's courtyard, stands the church of St. Cerdic, dedicated to the memory of a sixth-century martyr - someone who died at the hands of the Danes. Since its creation, the church has been closely associated with the One Bull - and St. Cerdic was venerated until the dissolution of the monasteries. His image was commemorated in a stained glass window which even a carefully hidden pig of lead couldn't protect; yet his grave, once a place of miracles, still remains a place for remarkable changes of heart.

Yet through all these centuries of upheaval - while the One Bull expands and contracts over the ages - battling for survival as a smuggling post, a secretive men's club, as well as the site of murder and suicide, it has remained in the hands of the Gilderson family throughout the generations. However, the One Bull has always represented a source of hope and disillusionment for the family as well. A Wayside Tavern is ultimately a story of survival: survival of a place, of a people, and of the legacies that they leave behind them.

I have to say that as with so many of Norah Lofts books, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. I found it to have an intriguing plot that was historically accurate and that really captured my attention right from the beginning. Although having said that, I must admit that at least in my own opinion, A Wayside Tavern by Norah Lofts was perhaps not her best work. However, I would still give this book a very definite A+!

A+! - (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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