Title: The Master and the Maid
Author: Laura Libricz
Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance
She’s lost her work, her home and her freedom. Now, harboring a mysterious newborn, she could lose her life.
In 17th Century Germany on the brink of the Thirty Years War, 24-year-old Katarina is traded to the patrician Sebald Tucher by her fiancé Willi Prutt in order to pay his debts. En route to her forced relocation to the Tucher country estate, Katarina is met by a crazed archer, Hans-Wolfgang, carrying a baby under his cloak. He tells her an incredible story of how his beloved was executed by a Jesuit priest for witchcraft right after the birth and makes Katarina—at sword point—swear on her life to protect the child. But protecting the child puts Katarina at risk. She could fall in disfavor with her master. She could be hunted by the zealots who killed his beloved. She could be executed for witchcraft herself. Can Katarina’s love for the baby and Sebald Tucher’s desire for her keep the wrath of the zealots at bay?
Set in Franconia, The Master and the Maid is an accurate, authentic account of a young woman’s life in Germany in the 1600’s, her struggle for freedom and her fight for those she loves.
This book, the first of a three-part series, should have wide appeal to a broad audience. The character of Katarina is incredibly well written and the reader quickly is drawn to her and concerned with her well being and happiness. That is what this author does…the heart of character is easily understood by the reader. It didn’t take two pages to realize that Raif was the scummiest scumbag, the big bad and for me to hate him immensely. There is a real grasp of humanity in this book and the weaving of the lives of the myriad of characters into the accurately portrayed 17th century Germany is very well done.
For me, I was not terribly interested in the love triangle aspect of Katarina. I do love Wolfgang and he is my favorite character so far. The ending was sudden and letting Raif live on makes the second story a must read but I prefer a big bad destroyed in book one and a new big bad in book two but that is just me.
Overall a promising first book that will capture the attention of everyone who enjoys either the time period of Vikings or Game of Thrones and those who enjoy the love triangle of Twilight or even Pride and Prejudice. I await the second book.
My Rating: 4.5 stars
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Laura Libricz was born and raised in Bethlehem PA and moved to Upstate New York when she was 22. After working a few years building Steinberger guitars, she received a scholarship to go to college. She tried to ‘do the right thing’ and study something useful, but spent all her time reading German literature.
She earned a BA in German at The College of New Paltz, NY in 1991 and moved to Germany, where she resides today. When she isn’t writing she can be found sifting through city archives, picking through castle ruins or aiding the steady flood of musical instruments into the world market.
Her first novel, The Master and the Maid, is the first book of the Heaven’s Pond Trilogy. The Soldier’s Return and Ash and Rubble are the second and third books in the series.
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Reviewed by: Mr. N