“May Day – Saturday 1st May – 1596
News of the dead boy spread through the church as fast as a pig runs from the butcher’s sack. His body was black and blistered, they whispered, like the devil himself had danced upon it.”
Cecily’s thirteenth birthday brought her the same as every other day. As Montacute house’s poultry girl she had risen early to tend to her chickens but as it was May Day she knew she’d have to afternoon off. She has few friends as she is known as the “bastard” of the village but her close friend William joins her in the celebrations until she stands up for him in front of Drax, Lord Montacutes son, and William storms off with little pride intact. Then William joins a list of boys who have gone missing in the area and Cecily knows she has to find him and help him.
Montacute house is a beautifully written book, the language is amazingly rich and pure and I was instantly transformed into the word of the 1590’s!
I loved the setting and the language so much that it diverted my attention to the fact that I wasn’t actually liking the story much for the first few chapters. Then the word witch appeared and seriously, if you need me to get interested in anything just put witches in it! I love the whole idea of witches, and I don’t mean the Hogwarts type witches, I mean real pagans, they fascinate me and I knew as soon as witches were introduced to this story that it would suddenly start getting very interesting. And it did.
I felt sorry for Cecily, the name she went by for most people was “Cess” or even “Cesspit” and she was shunned just because she had no father. I liked that she was pretty kickass but again this came to light further into the story. I took at instant dislike to Drax, and lets face it, he has a bald head and thats a pretty good sign of a baddie in my eyes! He was horrible and mean and i was almost screaming at this book at certain points purely because of his actions! The characterisation throughout the book was brilliant if I’m honest, the baddies really set my mood on edge, I was shaking with anger at some points but then the good guys, well they were awesome, I wanted to know them! And that only comes across when the author has put in a lot of build up to do with them so Jago really did do a good job with the characters; my favourite was obviously Edith though… An awesome witch with a loving heart!
As I mentioned, the setting was awesome in this book, probably because of the language used to describe it but I seriously found myself walking along the lane and over the stile with Cess and could vividly imagine the beautiful Montacute house. I said the other day that I’ve only just got into historical fiction and this book has further expanded my love of the genre!
I was a bit put off starting this book as I read the first page when I first got it and it didn’t grab me but I’m so glad I gave it a chance because it was a really good, captivating read. By halfway through I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen and it had lots of twists and turns to ensure you didn’t guess the ending. I think I had about fifty theories about what was going to happen and not one of them was right!
If you like historical fiction or mysteries then Montacute House is definitely for you but trust me, you will look up from it and get a shock because you’re no longer in the grounds of Montacute House, Yeovil Market, or underground tunnels!
Montacute House was released in May 2011 and is Jago’s first fiction book. A huge thank you to Bloomsbury for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.