Blog Tour: Squire’s Hazard (Meonbridge Chronicles Book 5)

posted in: blog tour, Joanna | 0

Squire’s Hazard

Carolyn Hughes

  417 pages
  Published October 6th, 2022
  Riverdown Books
Squire’s Hazard is the fifth instalment of the Meonbridge Chronicles, a series about ordinary people living in a small village in Hampshire, England, in the 14th century. I’ve read them all in order, and there are recurring characters and subplots from the earlier books, but this would work fine as a stand-alone if you are new to the series as you get all the backstory you need – you would just be missing out on a fabulous series, which is very different to most traditional Historical Fiction.
The previous books are, in order of publication:
Fortune’s Wheel (2016)
The inhabitants of a small Hampshire village called Meonbridge must come to terms with the upheaval in their lives wrought by the Bubonic Plague.
A Woman’s Lot (2018)
Three years on, and four very different women from Meonbridge have more freedom to work and choose their destiny than ever before  – but are still at the mercy of the unfairness of their society.
De Bohun’s Destiny (2019)
Lord and Lady De Bohun tell a white lie to protect their grandson’s inheritance, and save the village from unscrupulous outsiders, with terrible consequences.
Children’s Fate (2020)
Emma Ward and her teenage daughter Beatrix have left Meonbridge to pursue a better life in Winchester, but after being tricked into working in a brothel, Bea’s whole future is at risk.

Squire’s Hazard, the Fifth Meonbridge Chronicle

How do you overcome the loathing, lust and bitterness threatening you and your family’s honour?

It’s 1363, and in Steyning Castle, Sussex, Dickon de Bohun is enjoying life as a squire in the household of Earl Raoul de Fougère. Or he would be, if it weren’t for Edwin de Courtenay, who’s making his life a misery with his bullying, threatening to expose the truth about Dickon’s birth.

At home in Meonbridge for Christmas, Dickon notices how grown-up his childhood playmate, Libby Fletcher, has become since he last saw her and feels the stirrings of desire. Libby, seeing how different he is too, falls instantly in love. But as a servant to Dickon’s grandmother, Lady Margaret de Bohun, she could surely never be his wife.

Margery Tyler, Libby’s aunt, meeting her niece by chance, learns of her passion for young Dickon. Their conversation rekindles Margery’s long-held rancour against the de Bohuns, whom she blames for all the ills that befell her family, including her own servitude. For years she’s hidden her hunger for revenge, but she can no longer keep her hostility in check.

As the future Lord of Meonbridge, Dickon knows he must rise above de Courtenay’s loathing and intimidation, and get the better of him. And, surely, he must master his lust for Libby, so his own mother’s shocking history is not repeated? Of Margery’s bitterness, however, he has yet to learn…

Beset by the hazards triggered by such powerful and dangerous emotions, can Dickon summon up the courage and resolve to overcome them?

Secrets, hatred and betrayal, but also love and courage – Squire’s Hazard, the fifth MEONBRIDGE CHRONICLE

My review
I don’t read a lot of historical fiction, and most of what I have read is about royal families and their battles for succession. I really like the way this series focuses on one fictional village over the years, as the nobility, tenants and indentured workers all do what they can to survive. All the books focus mainly on the perspective of the village’s women, and give us a great idea of just how hard the Middle Ages were. The plot here shows the consequences of the events of book three – De Bohun’s Destiny – as Dickon, now fourteen, prepares to take over the running of the estates from his grandmother, Lady Margaret. While his relationship with Libby is central to the plot, don’t be expecting a typical romance storyline – these books are more nuanced than that, and explore the conflicts that arise from the instability and snobbery of the upper classes. This is all about children paying the price for the sins of their parents – Dickon’s father’s lust, Libby’s mother’s greed, Margery’s father’s wrath, and Edwin’s family’s pride.
As ever, the details about life in late Medieval England is thoroughly researched, with more focus on the lives of the nobility in this one. There is less action and mystery than in some of the previous books, and a bigger focus on character relationships and evolution, especially the young adults. As ever, women do most of the work and suffer the most, but it was nice to see certain characters in positions of strength, especially those from the previous novels. The character list in the beginning was a useful reminder of who’s who. Overall this was another very enjoyable visit to Meonbridge and I look forward to finding out what happens next. Thanks to Carolyn Hughes for the complimentary copy, and for inviting me to join her book tour.

ISBNs: eBook 978-1-9160598-9-4  Paperback 978-1-9160598-8-7


Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *