The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
It's been quite a while since I picked up a book that I haven't seen recommended by Booktube or by an author I know a significant amount about. This book I saw on my local library shelf and there was just something about its cover that called to me and made me pick it up. The thing with books like this is sometimes they end up being returned never having been read but last week I asked my husband to pick my next book and this is the one he picked for me.
I loved this book so much, it is a significant 550 pages and is categorised as Young Adult which overall I would agree with but it's not for the faint-hearted reader and does contain a fair amount of sexual and gory content. It's a historical fiction novel set in around the 1500's in Europe in a fictional country where we are following the lives of a variety of characters in the Royal Court.
This court is governed by a King, Christian and his wife Isabel whose children are all very ill and unfortunately, their children all seem to be dying. There is much speculation as to why and we follow the stories of Ava, a seamstress in the Royal Court, Midi an attendant in the Royal nursery, Queen Isabel herself and at other times we dot in and out of various court attendants and members of the nobility as we are led through the story of the day to day intrigue and politics of this Royal family and those who would seek to manipulate them to their own ends.
Because of the multiple voices in the book it moves at pace, the chapters are not overly long and so we move from person to person gaining quickly lots of different views and information about what is going on and how it is impacting both those of the lower classes through to the King and Queen themselves. It has very much a Tudor feel to the court with medicine, astrology, and rumors of witchcraft and sorcery the order of the day and oft times these are used to apportion blame or to raise speculation around events at court.
I couldn't put this book down. I fell in love with the characters of Ava and Midi wholeheartedly, the fact they are not traditional heroines and are equally drawn into plotting for their own advancement in the court but often find themselves in that position because of their lowly rank and through the manipulation of them by others. They are strong lead characters who despite initial misgivings about each other pull together when required to help each other.
I cannot believe I have not heard more about this wonderful book, how it has been overlooked is really beyond me. I could happily have read another 500 pages set in this wonderful world. It's a firm 4 out of 5 stars from me with an absolute guarantee I will be recommending this for months if not years to come.