Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Pargeters Book Review

Pargeters
by Norh Lofts

 
Rating: 4 out of 5
 
Genre: Historical Fiction
 
 
Pargeters: An Historical Novel of Seventeenth-Century England
Pargeters (I had to look up the pronunciation on that one) is an English manor house built in the 17th century. Adam Woodley, the pargeter (plasterer) who works on the house in a very personal and artistic way, catches the eye of the owner's daughter. This novel takes place during several generations of residents at Pargeters which begins in 17th century England. Times are difficult on so many levels, which includes the Civil War between Royalists and Roundheads.
 
The village is Baildon, in northern England where the daughter of Adam Woodley, Sarah Woodley-Mercer, struggles to hang onto her beloved Pargeters though women of that time held no rights. Forced into a loveless marriage in order to keep her home and care for those closest to her, she hangs onto hope. Her verbally cruel Puritan husband makes life miserable for everyone in his path.

A child is born from this hatefilled marriage which will ultimately change the future for all connected to Pargeters. Sarah maintains the responsibility for Pargeters and those under her care. Dealing with backbreaking day to day chores, a mean-spirited husband and his mother, and the needs of her aging grandfather all take their toll on her. To add a cherry on top, she often thinks of the one man she ever loved and wonders what happened to him. When he left to go to war (before she met her cruel husband), he said he would be back.
 
Although this story has plenty of dark moments, it proves that through perseverance you just keep on going. The characters have strong personalities and I had a hard time putting the book down. I was not totally pleased with the ending, but that's just me. It is a wonderful novel to read if you want to see how life was lived in that time period--the prejudice against women, the cruelties of certain denominations of faith, and the hardships endured. Norah Lofts weaves a masterful tale in her own unique voice. It's definitely worth a read.

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