The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1)

The Novice's Tale (Sister Frevisse, #1)
Margaret Frazer, 1992

Premise: Young Thomasina is eager to take her vows at the convent of St. Frideswide despite the objections of her wealthy aunt. When tragedy strikes, suspicion falls on the one who should be most innocent. 

I'll admit up front that I borrowed this book from the library on the strength of "kinda similar to Cadfael," and I was not disappointed. It's set in the 1400s instead of the 1100s, but the sub-genre of cozy-ish historical murder mysteries set in/around a Benedictine monastery/convent can't have that many entries, right? From the first page, it felt comforting, like a warm cup of tea. (A near trick for a murder mystery.)

I really enjoyed all the characters. The main protagonist, Dame Frevisse, was especially delightful between her gentle intelligent snark and practical convictions. The obvious antagonists were over the top without being too extreme, while the more subtle antagonists were implied to the reader without being too obvious. 

I especially liked the B-plot that in a Cadfael book would have turned into a romance didn't do that, instead staying true to the characters. 

I will definitely read more of these, it had just enough excitement and painted an engaging picture of the time. 

4 Stars - A Very Good Book


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