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A Crowning Mercy [Paperback]

Bernard Cornwell , Susannah Kells
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Dec 1 2009

“If you love historical drama…then look no further.”
 —Boston Globe

 Bernard Cornwell, the perennial New York Times bestselling author of the Richard Sharpe series and “perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today” (Washington Post) joins co-author Susannah Kells for A Crowning Mercy—a breathtaking romantic adventure set against the dramatic backdrop of the English Civil War. The exciting story of a rebellious Puritan woman on a perilous quest for love and fortune, A Crowning Mercy is a must for Cornwell fans as well as for devoted readers of Sharon Kay Penman and Diana Gabaldon.


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From the Back Cover

The civil war that is tearing England asunder in the year 1643 has not yet touched Dorcas Slythe, a secretly rebellious young Puritan woman living in the countryside south of London. She aches to escape the safe, pious tyranny of her father—and the opportunity appears with the arrival of Toby Lazender, dashing scion of a powerful royalist family, who awakens her to her passionate destiny. Her adventure truly begins with the discovery of an intricately wrought gold seal—one of four that, when joined, will reveal a great secret. Suddenly grave danger lies before her—not from Cromwell's advancing armies, but from relentless enemies who covet the great treasure to which she now holds the key.

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers 1356 and Agincourt; the bestselling Saxon Tales, which include The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, and most recently Death of Kings; and the Richard Sharpe novels, among many others. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.



Susannah Kells is the pen name of Bernard's wife, Judy Cornwell. They live on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.


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Most helpful customer reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best read in a long time July 9 2004
Format:Paperback
I loved this book....a real page turner! It was well written, fast paced and believable, cover to cover. This book was not about war or romance but about people's lives. My first Bernard Cornwell book. I will definitely look for more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  38 reviews
30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting writing exercise from a good craftsman Aug. 17 2004
By Smithroz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I heard about this book years ago. Cornwell mentioned on a fan website that he once wrote a romance novel under the pen name Susannah Kells to win a bet made over some Jameson with his mates when he was a journalist in Northern Ireland.

I located a copy and found it a most credible example of the genre.

It has all the proper elements of a historical romance, a heroine who feels alienated from her family, forbidden romance, the presence of titled families, physical danger, secret pasts and great fortunes plus a few unique twists of its own. Romance novelists usually don't write about how the point beats the edge in a sword fight.

The original liner notes said that the author, like the heroine, was raised among members of a very strict religious sect that she rebelled against as an adult. That is true, as Cornwell himself was adopted shortly after birth into an offshoot of 18th century Methodism that called themselves the Peculiar people. As I read A Crowning Mercy, I got the distinct impression this was a more personal books than the author's other works. For that reason alone it is a must read for the true Cornwell fan.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful combination of historic detail and romance. Oct. 6 1999
By Karen Guest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Fleeing from her strict Puritan household and an odious arranged marriage, a young woman seeks her fortune in 17th century London and falls in love with a charming aristocrat. As the fragile peace between the Puritan Roundheads and Royalist aristocracy crumbles, however, it becomes apparent that this young woman is not at all what she seems.

Beautifully written, this novel set during the English Civil War has everything: a heroine with a mysterious past, an engaging hero, an intricate plot, and some truly loathsome villains.

Its companion novel, "The Fallen Angels," is every bit as good.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Archetypal Cornwell June 21 2005
By Susan L. Leach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Cornwell manages to integrate history into the web of his fiction in very managed, intricate stages. The isolation of the Oxford Regency cast against the fanatical characters of Puritan England and civil war is a marvelous painting; Lady Margaret Lazender, Samuel Scammell, Faithful Unto Death Hervey and Vavasour Devorax are all characters who come alive (or dead, as the case may be) in credible ways. A delightful dose of fictionalized history, however, I found the water scenes too biblical and forced in allusion as the character of Dorcas was "reborn" in the novel. As with all other Cornwell, very graphic descriptions of the fetid side of imprisonment and torture befitting the seventeenth century.

I will continue to read and purchase this writer as his insight within specific historic periods is a continuing delight to me.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical Romance with Military Overtones Oct. 8 2006
By John A Lee III - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Bernard Cornwell is known for his historical military fiction so it is not surprising to find this book set in the time of the English Civil War. What is surprising is that the military aspects are secondary. It is an adventure story but it is first and foremost a love story. It is also well done.

Dorcas Slythe is the unloved and ill treated daughter of a Puritan family. She is a beautiful girl and Puritans, as a class, tend to be distrustful of beauty but one gets the impression that it is not only for her beauty that Dorcas is ill used. There is something else going on.

When her father dies, Dorcas learns that she is the subject of a mysterious Covenant. She realizes that there is some money involved but she doesn't really understand very much about it except that her family is eager to marry her off to an oaf. She wants none of it. She is in love with a boy from a nearby castle and resolves to run away and try to learn about this covenant.

During the course of her adventures, she gets embroiled in the Civil War and finds love. She also finds loss, betrayal and adventure in spades. It is hard to know who to trust in this one. It's a good book and worth reading.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very good read! Sept. 15 2005
By T. R. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Romance, adventure and a bit of mystery thrown in too. Set in 1640's England, Bernard and Judy Cornwell give the reader a good feel for the puritan era sweeping through London and of the English rebellion. A story of faith in God and in love. It stays exciting 'til the very last page.
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