Troubadour, by Isolde Martyn

God ha’ mercy! Shoulder throbbing with pain, Adela stumbled to her feet. Already she could hear the shouting in the upper bailey. She took a pace forward and braced herself to be set upon; the workmen stood inert. There was a gap in this uneven horseshoe of witnesses. She recognised one of them.
‘Are ‘e daft?’ he growled. ‘Run!’

When Adela, hairbraider to the queen, finds herself the unwilling subject of King John’s attention, she flees the English court and, after stowing away on a ship, finds herself in France. Eventually she is employed as a laundry maid in the entourage of Lady Alys, an English woman on her way to marry the Lord of Mircason to forge an alliance with King John. Adela is startled to see that she and Alys have very similar appearances. When the entourage is ambushed, it is this resemblance which sees Adela, the sole survivor of the ambush, mistaken for Lady ALys, and delivered to Richart, the Lord of Mircason. Adlea knows she will not be able to maintain the deception for ever, but events seem to be overtaking her, with teh wedding looming, and her attraction for Richart growing. In the meantime, Richart’s fiefdom, and those around him, are being targeted by a crusade, coming to topple any people who harbour or befriend heretics.

Troubadour is a romantic saga set in medieval France and England, against a background of real events. Martyn brings to life the political machinations and court life of the times with colour and detail, and the action moves at a satisfying pace.

With an intriguing cast of characters, and a satisfying romantic plot, Troubadour is highly recommended.

Troubadour , by Isolde Martyn
Harlequin, 2017
ISBN 9781489220370

Extra Time, by Morris Gleitzman

As we hurry towards the under-fifteen training pitch, I start to get a feeling in my tummy that something isn’t right.
It’s the right game, soccer.
And there’s skill all over the place. Which is perfect for Matt because he won’t have to get into any arguments about changing sides.
And the pitch looks brilliant. Smooth and green and completely free of wombat activity.
And yet something’s a bit weird.

It’s probably never easy being the manager for a star football player, but when you’re ten years old and the star is your fourteen year old brother there can be all sorts of complications. Ten year old Bridie is so proud of her bother, and is sure that she can help him land a contract to play in England, and follow his dreams.

After a run of bad luck for their family, it seems things are looking up when they get the chance to travel to England and try out for a big-league soccer club. Once they’re there, though, Bridie begins to have her doubts. There’s something strange about the other players they meet: nobody is happy. What if Matt stops being happy, too?

Extra Time has award winning-author Morris Gleitzman’s familiar blend of humour and heart-tug. Bridie’s love of her brother, and the rest of her family, and her sometimes-wise, sometimes-naive world view is endearing. The adult characters are almost pantomime in their wackiness, which adds to the fun, balanced by the tough times faced and hinted at.

Likely to appeal to readers aged nine and over, Extra Time.

 

Book Cover:  Extra Time

Extra Time, by Morris Gleitzman
Penguin Books, 2013
ISBN 9780143307754

Available from good bookstores or online.