Blood Rose Angel (Book 3 The Bone Angel trilogy)

BLOOD ROSE ANGEL
Third in The Bone Angel historical series, published November, 2015

LONGLISTED in MsLexia Women's Novel Competition, 2015



1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.

Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.

Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. A
midst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honour the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.

Blood Rose Angel, from the spellbinding The Bone Angel series, tells a story of continuing family traditions, friendships overcoming adversity, and how good and evil are too often bestowed on fellow humans in the name of faith––Zoe Saadia, author of  'The Rise of the Aztecs' and 'The Peacemaker' series.
                         
Medicine, religion, and love intertwine in this captivating, richly-detailed portrait of a young woman’s search for identity as the Black Death makes its first inroads into Europe. Liza Perrat uses her training as a midwife and her experiences living in a French village to create a compelling and unforgettable heroine determined to heal the sick in a world still ruled by superstition––C. P. Lesley, author of The Golden Lynx and The Winged Horse

Listen to an extract of Blood Rose Angel.

Interview on New Books in Historical Fiction.

Interview on The Back Porch Writer radio show.

WHERE TO BUY BLOOD ROSE ANGEL
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Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat
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's review
(first published on her blog)
Apr 25, 2017

it was amazing

4.5 stars

Blood Rose Angel is set in the 14th century, in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne, and centres round midwife and herbal practitioner, Heloise. Her husband, Raoul Stonemason, has been working in Florence on the cathedral for two years, but when the plague hits Italy, work halts and he knows he must flee. On the way home he accepts a lift from a merchant, who is to stay a while in Lucie. Alas, he brings with him the plague, and dies of it the next day. From then, it spreads rapidly. As a midwife and herbalist, Heloise feels duty bound to aid not only those about to give birth, but also the ill of the village, and this causes great friction between her and Raoul, who is terrified that she will bring the pestilence into their own house.

I was pleased to discover that Liza Perrat can write historical fiction as convincingly as dark (yet humorous) contemporary drama The Silent Kookaburra, which I read a couple of months ago. The research that must have gone in to this book is some feat; there is so much intricate detail about the herb lore of the period, the every-day lives of the peasants, and most interesting of all, the superstitions and religion. The villagers' lives are ruled by their fear of a wrath-like god, and have faith in all manner of charms, talismans, portents of doom, etc; a minority dared to voice their derision of these far-fetched beliefs, but it was so sad that, of course, they had no idea of the cause of the pestilence; as I read with frustration, it made me wonder what generations far into the future will think of the beliefs that still exist today, that our lives are watched over by invisible, judgemental, parental style entities. The parallels with our 21st century life are many, and it gave me much food for thought.

The story itself, of how Heloise deals with the prejudice towards her, and how she climbed from her darkest hours back into the light, is well thought out and so well written, but aside from this, the novel is a fascinating exploration of the rural life of the time, of the societal structure and the way in which the pestilence affected the people and changed the way they thought and lived. I hope to read another book in this trilogy soon; this is the third book, and a complete stand alone.
 ***
's review
Jan 05, 2017

really liked it
bookshelves: alli-indies, historical-fiction

A very absorbing novel. A vibrant evocation of Medieval France during the Black Death.
Feisty midwife Heloise has a lot to put up with - as well as fighting the plague, a proud and impatient husband, jealous rivals, the resentment, ingratitude and hatred of other townspeople, she has to deal with accusations of heresy, witchery and more. Perrat doesn't hold back in recreating the stench and filth of a town in the clutches of pestilence. The insights into 14th century midwifery and herbalism were fascinating and vivid.
Most of the book is written in the first person of Heloise but there are a couple of chapters which switch to third person narrative from her husband Raoul's point of view. I wasn't convinced this was necessary and it didn't help the flow. Minor point though in a really good read!
***
's review
Mar 01, 2017

it was amazing

This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
'a powerful novel, well written, engrossing, and a superbly sensitive study of life, birth and terrible and devastating death in the 1300s. '
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
***
's review
May 05, 16

it was amazing
Read on May 05, 2016

Let me begin by simply stating I did not want to stop reading Blood Rose Angel. The story of midwife Héloise and her true love, Raoul, in the 14thC French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne during the time of a deadly plague, will resonate with me for a very long time. Themes of family, friendship, love, politics and fear are explored in compelling fashion. At the same time, we have a fascinating opportunity to gain an understanding of some of the roots of modern medicine. As much as I was offered a rich and satisfying reading experience, I also learned a great deal.

When I write a review, I prefer to explain why I enjoyed a book, rather than recount the story.

Liza Perrat is truly an artist. She weaves magical threads through her stories combining historical and scientific fact with human emotions and behaviours. She paints landscapes, villages and personalities with broad brush strokes and follows with such attention to detail that the reader clearly grasps the images and eagerly enters the narrative.

Each book in the Bone Angel trilogy, can be read as a stand-alone and each is equally mesmerizing, horrifying, and enthralling. Perrat is simply brilliant at exposing life for what it was in the Middle Ages: harsh, challenging, and yet still filled with moments of joy and simple pleasure. Through her words, we see, smell, taste, and viscerally feel what is described on each page. The cast of characters she creates breathes life into a time we know from movies and history books. We live it in her stories.

As did Wolfsangel and The Spirit of Lost Angels, Blood Rose Angel gripped me from the beginning and held my attention to the last word. I have found all of these novels to be immensely satisfying reads. Historical fiction is my favourite genre and I have great respect for the tremendous amount of research that is required to produce the kind of high quality literature that Liza Perrat offers us.

I highly recommend the entire trilogy and eagerly await news of her next publication.


 ***

's review
Apr 18, 16

really liked it

While very well-written, Blood Rose Angel is graphic and real. I couldn't help but be affected by the vivid descriptions of the victims of the pestilence that came to be known as the Black Death. And the horrible situations forced upon the heroine by the hive mentality of her village were a haunting echo of today's increasingly "us vs. them" society, where anyone who dares to be different risks ostracization or worse. Heloise suffers through being considered an outcast by most of her village, a long-absent husband whose return causes more trouble than it fixes, rumors of being in league with the Devil and even possible execution. Despite all of that the story manages to end on a hopeful note, a note for which I was thankful, because I grew to really like these characters over the course of the story and thought they deserved far more than they were given. Don't skip this one.


 ***
's review
Apr 12, 16

really liked it
bookshelves: read-review-copy, read-reviewed
Read from January 23 to April 07, 2016

I loved reading about this specific time period from the viewpoint of common people, moreover, from the viewpoint of a heroine who is underprivileged even in commoners' terms, a woman frowned upon for her birth, often disregarded because of gender, and both valued and despised for her profession of a midwife and a healer.

Read full review on my blog, Beyond Strange New Words:
Blood Rose Angel is the third in the L’Auberge des Anges trilogy, but it can be read as a stand-alone, just like the other two books.

Set in the already familiar Lucie-sur-Vionne, Blood Rose Angel takes us back to the mid-14th century, when the Black Death first appeared in Europe, and this terrible pestilence is what midwife Héloise, the ancestor mentioned in the previous two books, has to face.

I loved reading about this specific time period from the viewpoint of common people, moreover, from the viewpoint of a heroine who is underprivileged even in commoners' terms, a woman frowned upon for her birth, often disregarded because of gender, and both valued and despised for her profession of a midwife and a healer.

Héloise is a brave, sometimes too reckless a woman in her beliefs and desire to help people, struggling between the profession she has pledged herself to and the dangers it brings for her and her family. Despite the troubles she finds herself in and that make her despair at times, she never gives up her call that drives her and ever revives her optimism, enabling her to take something good from the worst situations and despite everyone else. And so, her 'inferior' knowledge and methods, promoting such 'innovative' concepts as cleanliness and isolation of the sick, bring results and change her life and the lives of others forever.

Through rich, well-nuanced language, Liza Perrat vividly brings to life the era full of superstition and prejudice, where the governing Church and nobility had all the power and common people had none. However, while she doesn't shy away from gritty details, she balances the toils and troubles of medieval common folk with just as lively images of joy and happiness.

The end result is an intriguing, suspenseful story, full of life-like characters and issues even a modern person can relate to. Hence, I very much recommend Blood Rose Angel to lovers of historical fiction.

Disclaimer: The author has kindly sent me a copy of Blood Rose Angel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Originally posted on my Booklikes blog


***
's review
Mar 24, 16

it was amazing

I can't begin to describe how much I enjoyed reading this novel. It caught my attention from the very first page and held me in its grip until the fabulous ending. A plague is raging through the French town of Lucie-sur-Vionne leaving death and destruction in its wake. Heloise, the illegitimate daughter of a midwife, is learning midwifery from her aunt Isa after her mother's death. She wears a leather thong upon which hangs an angel carved from bone. This talisman has been passed hand to hand from midwife to midwife down her family line. Heloise's dedication to her craft is so strong, she is one of the few people brave enough to tend the those dying of the plague. But not everyone is grateful, some are angry, even suspicious of her knowledge to heal, and she soon faces the wrath of the town.

If you like tales with strong, determined, and moral women at the helm, then this tale is sure to please. There is never a dull moment as the story unfolds and I can honestly say that it is unputdownable. This is a must read for those who love medieval historical fiction. You won't be disappointed.


***
's review
Mar 14, 16

really liked it
Read from March 09 to 12, 2016

It’s 1334 in Lucie-sur-Vionne market place, with children running about taunting a young girl Heloise for being a non-born; a babe cut from her dead mother’s womb. Her aunt Isa takes Heloise under her wing and trains her to be a midwife generating a passion and dedication to help others in poor health. In spite of a great deal of superstition among the townspeople, Heloise tries her best to assist those in need, even though her path chosen is a dangerous one. With each chapter the story grows stronger with well developed characters many who come to admire Heloise and others determined to destroy her. Sprinkled throughout the story, the author has written a well researched amount of detail on plant and herb uses for various ailments that is interesting and fascinating. Very well written and recommended to all readers.

*A special thank you to author Liza Perrat, for providing me a copy of her novel. I’ve written an honest review*.

 ***

by

's review
Mar 07, 16

it was amazing
Read from March 01 to 05, 2016

Blood Rose Angel offers a fascinating look at life (and death) for the common people in the 1340's, both before and after the plague. Just as women had to step up to the mark and fill the men's shoes during the second world war, the Black Death marked a turning point for women who often had to take over running the family business when the men of the house died. As a former midwife herself, Liza Perrat manages to create in Héloïse a complex, appealing and realistic character who is both morally convincing and historically accurate. As with all good historical fiction, the novel combines a gripping, masterfully-written story of friendship and family strife, with a well-researched, fact-based backdrop in a particularly tumultuous moment in history.
*** 
's review
Jan 28, 16

really liked it
bookshelves: arc-book-directly-from-author, historical-fiction
Recommended for: ehbooklover
Read from January 22 to 26, 2016 — I own a copy

Author Liza Perrat once again has written a vivid tale set within a notable historical setting as part of her Bone Angel series. This is the third book in her historical fiction trilogy but all three books are great as stand-alones (I had only read 'Wolfsangel' before this book) so readers can pick up any of the books without the fear that they're missing out on personal histories/story lines.

Blood Rose Angel centres around the 14th century pandemic plague that killed nearly fifty percent of Europe's population. It was a time of great terror and extreme loss that was only exacerbated by superstitious, prejudicial and ignorant beliefs of the time. Perrat paints a vivid picture of life in a small French town during this plague complete with social, religious and personal issues that draw the reader into her story. That doesn't mean it didn't have its frustrating parts that were hard to read - namely some of the (now silly) views that somehow everything from cats, lepers, amulets or Jews were the reason for the pestilence and disease spreading and killing so many. Or how superstition trumped science when it came to hygiene, health and the treatment of women as lesser.

Perrat tells her story using a wide array of characters within the small French town of Lucie-sur-Vionne each with their own vibrant personalities. I guarantee that you won't like all of them but you will remember them. I found Héloïse to be a strong female character. She was smart and went to great lengths to protect her family, friends and townspeople. She was also stubborn and sometimes hard to support as she brazenly and sometime stupidly would put herself in harm's way because of her actions or, more likely, her big mouth. There were a few times when I wanted to shake her and yell "Just shut UP!" because you could see that her mouth was, at times, her biggest adversary.

Readers are given a startling look at life back in the 1300's. Perrat shows with vivid clarity the effects of the plague physically and emotionally on those who suffered its effects as well as the devastation it had on whole communities. There was rampant fear, fear mongering as well as their misguided beliefs in medicine, general hygiene and the blatant lack of women's rights.

Midwifery is a big part of the story line as are the real threats of witchery and heresy claims that many midwives had to deal with due to ignorance spread by fear and patriarchal powers. Within this tumultuous time Perrat also showcases the female bond between family members as well as women within the community.

My only negative about the book was that the pace in the middle lagged a bit and the big reveal of Héloïse's father was a little lackluster and felt like it was thrown in quickly to sum things up.

Overall, this was an enjoyable historical fiction book that was the wonderfully absorbing read that I've come to expect from Liza Perrat.

My Rating: 4 stars

Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to author Liza Perrat for providing me with a complimentary e-book copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
***
 
by

's review
Feb 23, 16

it was amazing
Read from January 31 to February 05, 2016

What I like about this author’s writing style is the way in which she allows both characterisation and plot to have equal importance, with neither one attempting to outshine the other. The medieval setting comes gloriously alive, with all the sights,sounds and smells of the medieval world, and yes, also the petty indifferences, which are so reminiscent of this dangerous time. However, Blood Rose Angel is also inhabited by vibrant and memorable characters who take command of their story and as they leap fully formed onto the page, we are allowed a tantalising glimpse into the intricacies and sadness of their daily lives.

Having travelled the Bone Angel Talisman journey from its inception with Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel, there is no doubt that Blood Rose Angel is a fitting conclusion to the trilogy. I was enthralled in the story from start to finish, and by the end, was completely immersed in medieval French culture, and it must be said, rather sorry to say goodbye to Heloise. However, as with all good stories which have been well told, I know that her story will always quietly linger in the shadows of my imagination.

Whilst Blood Rose Angel concludes the story, as with Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel, all the novels can be read comfortably as standalone historical fiction.


A longer version of this review can be found : http://jaffareadstoo.blogspot.co.uk/2...
***
5.0 out of 5 stars 
on January 6, 2016
The aspect I enjoy the most about Perrat's books is the author's capabilities in spinning down-to-earth, imaginable, captivating stories of a world long ago that is present today in every sense. Blood Rose Angel beautifully illustrates these attributes. A story of day-to-day life in a village predominantly through a midwife's eyes who deals with superstition, prejudice, love, betrayal, hatred, death, and enemies. During the protagonist's journey, she is blessed with loyalty, forgiveness, and the faith of others in her. All human circumstances we can relate to. The question is whether this latter is enough to save her and those she loves. There are sentences and phrases that linger long after the last page is read. A certain sign of an excellent book. Yes, highly recommended!
***
's review
Jan 26, 16

it was amazing
Read from January 12 to 22, 2016

I just love artful storytelling. From start to finish, I was immersed in Liza Perrat's latest novel in the Bone Angel series. Though BLOOD ROSE ANGEL is a work of fiction, many readers know a Plague, later called the "Black Death," killed half the population of Europe in the late Middle Ages.

BLOOD ROSE ANGEL melds all the constructs of a well built novel: a compelling story with the twists and turns of a thriller, the wide range of fascinating and archetypical characters, a few mysteries, the plying and slow reveal of secrets, and a solid historical foundation. But, in my opinion, it is the author's medical background, her artistic brush strokes in language, and the so deftly integrated literary devices that bind the key elements above, elevating this novel to a very fine work of historical (and literary quality) fiction. I won't be a spoiler --- will leave the literary architecture for you to discover! Well, maybe just a glimpse... Here is a favorite line that works on multiple levels: "...the breeze around the farmers' cots sighing and whispering like a chorus of haunted voices..." And, here is another: "Limping about on spindle-thin legs, she seemed like the last withered piece of fruit clinging to the tree."

From the first page of BLOOD ROSE ANGEL, I found myself inside the head and heart of Midwife Heloise, a resident of Lucie-sur-Vionne, France. The circumstances of her own birth and of her mother Ava's will fuel the action in the novel as the merciless "Black Death" envelops the village in 1348. The bond between women, and especially mothers and daughters is a theme of the novel. I especially loved this poignant moment: "...the more a girl knows about those who came before her, the stronger she'll be. That's how we keep our mothers' memories alive." (This is the reason I became a writer; to go beyond facts and preserve the "essence" of my family and friends.)

BLOOD ROSE ANGEL is a page-turner, but written with a nice balance of action and description. I thought the graceful word structures of WOLFSANGEL, one of the other novels in the Bone Angel trilogy, were superb. I am thinking now that the prose of BLOOD ROSE ANGEL is even finer. So beautifully poetic and SO sensory... Isn't reading remarkable when you can see, hear, taste, smell, and feel the spectrum of life and death in another time? Childbirth before our modern technology, the art of making herbal remedies, and especially the physical horrors of infected human bodies and psyche wrought by the pestilence AND by humans in a panicked state. All seem so real and elicit our emotions ---empathy, disgust, anger, terror, compassion and more, as if we were there. We even cringe as the "spidery fingers" of clergy, rulers, and other self-serving forces manipulate and control the characters we care about. I was sad when the story ended --- will particularly miss Midwife Heloise. Though well suited to the story path, the climax and ending of BLOOD ROSE ANGEL did suggest a possible sequel... We can hope!

It is my honor to highly recommend BLOOD ROSE ANGEL by Liza Perrat. I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest review.***
's review
Jan 08, 16

it was amazing
bookshelves: 2016, fiction, historical-fiction
Read from January 03 to 05, 2016

4.5 stars. "Blood Rose Angel" is the third book in the series that includes "Spirit of Lost Angels" and "Wolfsangel" by Liza Perrat. Although this book is part of a series, you don't have to have read the other books as the thing that links the books is a talisman. I would suggest reading the other books though because they are true treats for historical fiction fans. In this book, we meet Heloise, a midwife, that lives during the time of the Black Death.

This time period in France is one that I loved. It was so interesting to see how Heloise and her fellow village dwellers deal with the Black Death. There is so much tension and suspicion that is created by the disease that everyone is seen as the potential source. Because of Heloise's position as midwife and healer, she is seen as a suspect for bringing the Black Death upon the village. Superstitions abound throughout this book, which was fascinating to me!

I loved Heloise's character. She is a strong woman and one that is sure of her powers of healing. She oozes confidence through most of the book. I also liked how the author included a lot on the methods that Heloise would have used as a midwife during the time period. I love reading about old timey medical treatments. It's so interesting to me what people used to do in order to try to heal others! The author's note at the back of the book on this subject is absolutely fascinating!

Overall, this book was a good read! The characters are going to stick with me for a long time!


***
's review
Jan 13, 16

it was amazing
Read in January, 2016

One of those books that once started was nigh on impossible to put down and yet at the same time one of those novels that you didn't want to pick up knowing that every page read was a page closer to having to say goodbye to some wonderful characters not to mention the end of an exceptional trilogy.

The third in the Bone Angel Trilogy. Whilst the books are connected by three generations of women proud to have been passed down an angel talisman they are quite different stories (though perhaps the first, Spirit Of Lost Angels, is more similar to Blood Red Angel than the second, Wolfsangel) and as such can be read as stand alone reads or in which ever way the reader so wishes.

Superstition, pestilence, an oath sworn on a dead mother's soul, medicine, religion and most of all a wonderful heroine. A 'non-born', a midwife/healer, a woman taunted from childhood - in Héloïse Liza Perrat has created an amazing character who is at once complex and yet easy to relate to.

Her creating some quite heavy scenarios - the 'ignorant' superstitions and prejudices of many of the people, the treatment of women in general and women seen to be in different in particular, the religious/political struggles, Héloïse's relationship with her stonemason husband - thankfully tempered by some wonderfully tender and moving moments.

In short, not only does she write beautifully, Liza Perrat is also a master storyteller who manages to bring to life both the people and places of her novels and I for one can't wait to find out just where her next book will take me.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper.
Disclaimer: Received for review from the author, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.

***
's review
Jan 06, 16

really liked it
Read in December, 2015

HOW I GOT THIS BOOK: Review copy as a part of France Book Tours

REVIEW:

Historical Fiction is always a pleasure to read if the writer has a way with words. The story when written properly would have the potential to transport the reader to the period in which it is set. Time travel otherwise isn’t technically possible. I experienced that absolute bliss of time travel with this book.

Midwife Heloise, born a bastard, heals and tends to childbirths in her small town. Taunted by her status as a bastard, she resolves never to give up on her profession of healing and swears an oath on her mother who was a healer/midwife herself. Married to a handsome stonemason, Heloise’s future looks blissful until the gory disease of pestilence threatens to wipe out France. Fearing death, Heloise’s husband prohibits her to treat any pestilence patients. Torn between her husband and the oath she swore, Heloise is forced to make a choice - A choice that ultimately ends up impacting the life and death of her village folks.

With flawless and progressive characterization and each characters emoting to dot, the story was simply magnetic. I had to finish the book off! The writer managed to show all possible shades of a character along with all possible emotions. That is one absolute rarity these days. For some reason, writers tend to “write” actual history and facts in the middle of the story if the story in such a background. That is absolutely boring and results in one huge drop in the pace of the book. Thankfully, this writer really did no such thing. Of course, there was a bit of “history” but it was totally in context and essential to understand the story line. To satisfy history buffs who expect historical facts, the writer had an appendix that talked about the time period of which this story was set in. That made an interesting read for me. It is needless to mention, the writing was fluidic and simple. The only peeve point I had was with the pace of the story midway. I felt she gave too much importance to gory deaths that the pestilence caused, but however, I later felt that she did only to emphasize what risk Heloise was actually taking.

MY SAY: The perfect historical fiction!

RATING:

PLOT: 8/10

CHARACTERISATION:9/10

NARRATION:9/10

BOREDOM QUOTIENT:1/10(lower the better)

OVERALL RATING: 9/10

***
's review
Dec 21, 15

it was amazing
Read from November 23 to December 21, 2015

Having read and enjoyed the first two in Liza Perrat’s historical trilogy, I was looking forward to number 3 – and I wasn’t disappointed. All three books are stand-alone but are linked by a bone talisman carved in the shape of an angel and by the destinies of three strong women from the same French village who make their way in a man’s world.

Blood Rose Angel is set in the 14th century at the time of the devastating plague pandemic that killed up to 50% of the population of Europe. Liza Perrat paints an enthralling picture of the ignorance and superstition that allowed the plague to spread inexorably and unchecked. The author is particularly gifted at transporting you to the historical setting and everyday detail of people’s lives. Life was no picnic, especially for women who faced the very real prospect of dying in childbirth.

The main character, Héloїse, is a midwife and healer, the illegitimate daughter of a midwife who died giving birth to her. Héloїse herself is a victim of superstition and ignorance, even though she devotes herself to helping the people of her village. She is a strong, often stubborn, character who rises to the many challenges posed throughout the story, including her stonemason husband’s misguided efforts to stop her carrying out her vocation and focus on their family.

This could have been a very dark book, given the subject matter it deals with, but Liza Perrat skilfully weaves in moments of joy and light and thus crafts a rounded and believable story. Warning: this book is hard to put down.

This is compelling reading and I recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.
's review
Dec 18, 15

really liked it
bookshelves: e-books, for-review, france, historical, medieval, read-in-2015
Read from December 12 to 14, 2015

I haven’t read the previous books but this works well as a stand-alone. I don’t think I’ve read anything set during the Black Death from the common people’s point of view so this was a change for me.

You can see how much superstitions affects everyday life, especially when something bad happens. Makes people accuse everyone from Jews to lepers and cats. How important midwives were to women during the dangerous time of childbirth, and yet how easy it was to accuse them of witchcraft, curses and heresy. Definitely not a safe occupation…

Héloïse can’t turn her back to the people affected by the plague but her husband doesn’t approve her work. I’m trying not to give anything away but I think he went way too far trying to prevent her from helping and I hoped Héloïse wouldn’t have forgiven him. I liked Raoul before that but after that I just couldn’t but hate him. Not an easy time to be a woman for sure.

I liked Héloïse who was strong and kind even after all the hate she’s gotten from the villagers. She didn’t give up trying to find a solution to defeat the plague.

***
's review
Dec 20, 15

really liked it
bookshelves: 2015
Read on December 20, 2015

I could not tear myself away from this book. Liza Perrat has now joined the ranks of my favorite authors.

The first few pages hook you and never let up. I tore through this book so quickly I was sad when it ended. Yes, I found it that enjoyable.

Perrat has a way with words, her style is fluid and flows easily, downright solid and mesmerizing.

I completely connected with Héloïse from the start. She is compelling, possessing strength and kindness while dealing with acceptance by few and disdain from the majority in her community for various reasons. Her strength and commitment allows her to endure the scorn of many, her bravery and inability to hold her tongue intimidates. Héloïse really pulled at my heartstrings even more so when she was put in a precarious position by her husband, you can sense how torn she is between her ultimatum. He husband didn’t exercise the best judgement which Héloïse experiences first hand.

When the pestilence hits the community both embraces and forsakes Héloïse. The behavior, superstitions and ignorance of the people of her hamlet will leave you frustrated and angry. Perrat’s writing really sketches a dark time in history along with misplaced beliefs of people. There were moments I wanted to reach into the pages and shake sense into people.

Perrat deftly balances heavy moments with uplifting outcomes. Given the time period, the treatment of women, political and religious struggles, balancing the bad with the good was a challenge, luckily Perrat succeeded.

There were twists I didn’t see coming, especially towards the end. I adored the ending.

Perrat created an enthralling read with a powerhouse character Héloïse. Well done from start to finish, not excluding every thing in between. Fans of historical fiction, strong, independent and smart women, those with an interest in midwifery and herbalists will enjoy. Perrat’s writing style along with outstanding execution is reason enough to add to your TBR.


***
's review
Dec 19, 15

really liked it
bookshelves: france-book-tours
Read from December 02 to 11, 2015

This book was a fantastic historical novel, filled with more detail than I could almost take in. The time period, when the Black Death was rife in Europe, made for a tense, even sometimes suspenseful backdrop for the story. At times I felt every horror-stricken moment, when Heloise had to choose between caring for her own family, and caring for those in her village struck down by the plague.

Most fascinating was the detail of midwifery, and of Heloise's skill. And of course the knife-edge of being only one step removed from witchcraft in the eyes of the populace. I was never sure that Heloise would survive, given the malice against her.

Definitely a book worth reading, both for its plot, which was well-paced and intriguing, and for its historical detail. I think I'm going to read the other books Ms. Perrat has written, since I finished this one so quickly.
 ***

's review
Dec 16, 15

Read in December, 2015

Blood Rose Angel is the third in The Bone Angel Series and Liza Perrat does not disappoint. It is a story filled with a variety of emotions that also gives the reader a glimpse into history. Liza’s style of writing and her way of describing every aspect of her story lets the reader know how in love Héloise and Raoul are and how much Héloise loves her profession as a midwife even though it puts her in grave danger. The fear and ignorance experienced by the villagers as the dreaded pestilence takes over their village is evident by Liza’s ability to make it realistic to the point where I found myself so sad for these characters, some that honestly didn’t deserve compassion for the way they treated the main character. As someone who studied history, I am aware that there are many individuals who do not know about this time that threatened not only civilization, but made many believe that the end of time was near (as Liza lets the reader know). It is refreshing to not only have a story that tells us about this important time that may be unknown to everyone, but to provide a lesson in love, compassion and humanity that we could use today in such turbulent times. Blood Rose Angel is a must read !!! It is an emotional roller coaster, but a good one. Liza brings us to a point where we fear for Héloise (do not want to give anything away), making this reader feel anger towards those that put her in that position towards a dramatic turn of events that left this reader not only satisfied but not so mad at those that caused her pain. This is a must read !! Liza Perrat never disappoints, she gets better with each book. I look forward to her next book that I am sure will not disappoint either .... Thumbs up .. way up !!
***
's review
Dec 11, 15

Read in August, 2015

Karen Maitland switched me onto how enthralling mediaeval fiction can be and I've not looked back since. Both Perrat's previous novels (set in times of upheaval in France) and her individual take on rural, female, peasant population is a spring wind in comparison to so many stories from the privileged classes.
In contrast to her previous novels, set during the Revolution and WWII respectively, this book is set during the Black Plague, a disease which spread across the country showing its first symptoms as blood roses on the skin.
What appealed to me most is the conflict of the main character as she struggles with the personal and the community, prejudice and superstition, love and duty. The research is impeccable and the plot is full of surprises. Best of all, this is a book peopled with real, vivid characters, not least of which is the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne.

***
's review
Dec 14, 15

Read from December 10 to 12, 2015

This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - http://mssbookshelf.blogspot.com

Unfortunately there's no such thing as time travel. Lucky for us history lovers, we do have authors like Liza Perrat.
Blood Rose Angel is the third installment in The Bone Angel series - however all three of them can be read as stand alone novels and/or in random order. As with all her novels, Liza really invests in getting her readers acquainted with the historical setting. She gives you an amazing insight in the day to day lives, worries and challenges of her characters and their surroundings, which makes for an incredibly detailed and in-depth backdrop for her main story.
Liza's storytelling and writing truly transports you, and time and time again she finds a way to write characters that are truly "historical". Everything about their character and their believes fit the era, so much so that they are at times difficult to relate to. Although the amount of superstition, prejudice and the role woman played are horribly frustrating, it's nothing less than wonderfully authentic.
Héloïse is a strong and inspiring main character; an amazing woman to guide you to a very dark chapter in history. She'll be tested in many ways and it's fascinating to see how she and the people around her deal with those challenges. I won't go into any specifics about what exactly those struggles are; you'll just have to read it yourself.
Blood Rose Angel should be on the shelf of every historical fiction lover. Highly recommended read.
***
's review
Dec 15, 15

bookshelves: read-2015, historical-fiction
Read from December 06 to 11, 2015

Midwife Héloïse has been an outcast since she was a child. She is called a non-born. Her mother died while giving birth to her and her aunt Isa had to cut her out of the womb. The local children teased her about that, and as an adult have the taunting children grown up to taunting adults. But she has always been strong in herself, and she has a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Life couldn't be better. But then her husband arrives home after being away for two years and this should be a young full event, but then people are starting to get sick and die. The Black Death has come to their village.

There were a couple of times I had to stop reading this book and read something else, not that it was anything wrong with the book. But because I was so frustrated with the superstition that that characterized the people at the time. How the fear made the people accuse, cats, lepers, and Jews for the plague. Héloïse tries to help everyone that is sick, despite her husband being against that. And, he, in the end, tries in his own way to protect her, but that backfires completely. I was so angry with him at that point. It's hard to read a book about a time when women weren't better than a kept slave.

Héloïse is such a wonderful character, strong and kind, but the superstition against her and the bone-sculpted angel pendant she has after her mother is strong among the people in the village. There are some that sees her for the kind person she is, but she has some enemies with power in the town. And, a deadly plague is the kind of thing that could make her situation worse. Especially since she is quite outspoken and brave. A threat, for instance, could easy be interpreted as a curse...

But for all the darkness in this book are there also light moments, and I think the balance between the darkness and the light is the thing that makes this book so wonderful to read. It's an emotional reading experience. Sadness at the death of a child, joy of a birth and anger at the injustice towards women. I was deeply moved by the story.

***
  
's review
Nov 15, 15

Read from November 10 to 15, 2015

I can’t remember exactly how I came to read my first Liza Perrat novel, but I am so glad that I found her books because she has quickly become one of my favourite authors. In her new sweeping tale, Blood Rose Angel, emotions overwhelmed me right from the start and kept me on the edge of my seat with my heart in my throat right through to the last page, when I sat there stunned that it was all over. It was like leaving a best friend behind. As I get older I find that I am easily distracted when reading, but from the moment I started Blood Rose Angel it was like I was put under a spell. Everything around me faded away, and I was right there in Lucie-sur-Vionne watching the horrors of the Black Plague sweep through this quaint French village and snuff out life after life with seemingly no way to stop its destructive path. I resented my life when I had to put the book down to go to work, and there was one morning where I almost called in sick because I was so engrossed in the story.

The story begins in 1334 and revolves around Héloïse, a bastard child of a bastard midwife, who is being raised by her aunt, Isa, her mother’s twin sister. Héloïse’s mother died of what sounds like toxemia one month before her due date, so Isa had to perform a c-section, resulting in Héloïse being referred to as a non-born birth and leading to a childhood of taunting by other children and villagers. However, she comes from a long line of midwives and eventually feels the calling herself, vowing to become a midwife and do something worthwhile with her life so her mother’s death won’t be in vain. The years pass and Héloïse becomes a full-fledged midwife and healer and feels guided and comforted by the bone-carved angel talisman necklace which has been passed down from generation to generation of midwives in her family.

By 1348, Héloïse is married and has a daughter of her own to carry on the midwife tradition – a perfect life. However, multiple tragedies descend on Lucie-sur-Vionne, including the Black Plague, which ravages their village, invoking fear and panic in its people. As is common in situations like this, they have to find someone to cast blame upon, and a midwife with her mysterious potions and talisman seems an easy target. What follows is a wonderful portrayal of an incredibly strong woman, who will stop at nothing to save her people, despite the despicable way they begin to treat her. It is a story of immense struggles, as Héloïse battles with her husband and her own conscience over whether to obey her calling and help the villagers to eradicate the pestilence or stay away from the sick to keep her family safe. Her internal battles and her fortitude are what make you root for her over and over, as there is nothing better than reading a story with a fiercely strong and giving female character who is made stronger by battling through the challenges. This is a story steeped in history, tradition, religion, and superstitions, and there is a lot to be learned from Héloïse. When all is said and done, the reader comes away knowing that nothing is impossible if you want it enough and it doesn’t matter what you believe in as long as you have faith in something.

Perrat’s writing is brutally vivid and honest, never sugar coating what went on in that time period, and that’s what makes her stories so riveting. She definitely has a gift for writing – her words flow like the River Vionne itself, surging here, calm there, but mesmerizing either way. I simply can’t say enough about her talent and highly recommend Blood Rose Angel and her other books to anyone who loves historical novels. However, just remember that you may have to put your life on hold because, trust me, you won’t be able to put it down, and you will be left with the worst book hangover you have had in a long time.

***

's review
Nov 21, 15

The year 1348 is not a good time to be a healer in Europe. Midwife Héloïse lives in a cottage outside Lucie-sur-Vionne, where she walks an awkward line between villagers who need her services and others who fear that she owes more to the black arts than their medical counterparts. When she threatens an invading bandit chieftain with the power of her angel talisman, her enemies are more than ever convinced that she dabbles in witchcraft. But Héloïse has sworn an oath on her dead mother's soul to help those in need, and she refuses to let a few hostile ignoramuses deter her.

Le mort bleu–known to history as the Black Death–arrives quietly on a ship from the east. At first, the villagers make little of it. But Héloïse's husband, fresh in from Florence, recognizes the symptoms of the disease that has devastated Italy and orders his wife not to treat the sufferers, lest she bring pestilence into their house. The villagers' suspicions mount with the body count, and Héloïse's struggle with her husband intensifies as her concern for her family conflicts with her oath. When the local count takes an interest in Héloïse's healing gift, even her talisman may not suffice to protect her.

Liza Perrat has written two previous novels in this series, Spirit of Lost Angels and Wolfsangel. Here in Blood Rose Angel we learn the origins of the talisman and the history of the female healers who pass it from one generation to the next.

Interview at New Books in Historical Fiction
***
's review
Nov 16, 15


Liza Perrat’s books are the next best thing to time travel! They are full of details that bring us to the depths of despair and raise us to the heights of elation.

Midwife Heloise stands apart from her fellow villagers. She lives on the edge of the brilliantly evoked Lucie-sur-Vionne and brings many of its children into the world. She is both a part of things and an observer, almost one of us with some startlingly modern ideas about medicine and religion, but also very much of her time. What a world medieval France was! There is a brilliant cast of characters who all come alive for us. The conflicts start in the first chapter and never let up as Heloise is challenged to resolve disputes, birth babies, struggle with her marriage, find her place in her community, help her community as it falls apart with the black death, and finally to help herself out of the most dire of situations in order to survive and carry on helping others. It’s no mean feat – a wide range of people have been brought to life here. I particularly admired Heloise herself, who is another amazing, strong woman, worthy of the bone angel. I loved her strength and her refusal to give up.

Another great story by a wonderful wordsmith. 
***
 
's review
Nov 15, 15


Having read the previous two book in the Bone Angel Saga - completely independent reads, by the way - I had great expectations from this third installment. And wow, disappointed I wasn't!
What a breathtaking ride this novel turned out to be. From the rural French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne to the plague-stricken Florence, from the lively village markets, dealings, politics and brigand's attacks to the terrible aspects of Black Plague, from the most fascinating details of midwifery and healing to the mystery of human emotions when the people are pushed to the brink by a horrible disease; well through all this we, the readers, are left with no time to breath or sleep. I literary couldn't put my Kindle down, I just HAD to know what would happen next.
Heloise was such a lovely, lively, human and feisty character, a woman who, being a bastard and therefore raised with no man in her life, a free spirit with a great will and determination, just wouldn't let neither people nor events, not even the Black Death, take her off her course, fighting for what is right, standing up to her principles of a healer and a midwife. I worried about her so much!
The other characters were as vivid, as three-dimensional - Raoul, Heloise's husband, Isa, her wonderful aunt, Morgan her sweet little greatly opinionated daughter, her fellow villagers, friends and enemies and all in between. Tragedy, betrayal, secrets and love, faith and accusations of witchery,and of course again, the angel talisman, all this and more are filling the pages of this breathtaking, touching human story. I couldn't get enough of this novel, I just couldn't. Historical fiction at it's best! 
***

's review
Nov 24, 15


Blood Rose Angel is the third in Liza Perrat’s series about a family from the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne who pass a bone angel talisman down from mother to daughter. The novels focus on the women who owned the talisman at three tumultuous periods of history. We’ve seen it in the time of the French Revolution and of the 2nd World War, but Blood Rose Angel takes us even further back to the medieval world. If like me you’ve loved the earlier books you’ll have been eagerly awaiting this latest offering. But don’t be put off if you haven’t read the first two because Blood Rose Angel works very well as a standalone or as an introduction to the trilogy.

The 14th century was a brutal time riven by violent conflict and ravaged by the Black Death. and Liza Perrat doesn’t flinch from showing us scenes of terrible carnage or the horrors of disease. But this is no grim catalogue of death and despair because at the centre of the story is Heloise who shines with energy and resilience.

Raised and taught midwifery skills by her aunt, Heloise has never known her parents and, although respected by many of the villagers for her abilities as a healer, her illegitimate status makes her a natural scapegoat. And it can be dangerous to be a healer in the Middle Ages when belief in witchcraft is universal. Things get even more difficult when the Plague arrives and she must fight not only against the kind of prejudice and ignorance she’s grown used to, but the disapproval of her beloved husband, Raoul, and her own fears for her family. But Heloise is too compassionate and too proud of her skills to be deterred. In a time before modern medicine it’s fascinating to see her struggle to develop remedies from the simple ingredients and traditional knowledge available to her.

The author brings this medieval village to such vivid life so that we can almost feel the heat of summer and the snows of winter. The dust, the stench of blood and death may be here but also the joy of a baby’s first cries after a difficult birth, the scents of the herbs Heloise collects, the food she cooks for her family and the delight she finds in the arms of her husband and the smile of her child. For me Heloise represents those forgotten women, intelligent, brave and indomitable who have formed the heart and soul of every town and village throughout history. Wonderful.
***

By Claire on November 15, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
Having loved the first two books in Liza Perrat’s bone angel series, I’ve been very much looking forward to the third in the trilogy, Blood Rose Angel. I did wonder if it could possibly match the first two, but I’m thrilled to discover it’s every bit as good. For those who don’t know, the books follow the journey through history of a bone-sculpted talisman that is passed down from mother to daughter through generations of the same midwifing family, who live in the village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. The first bone angel book was set in the time of the French Revolution, the second in WWII: the latest book takes the reader back to the fourteenth century during the years that Europe was in the grip of the Plague.
The main character in this story is Héloïse and the novel follows her battle to continue to care for the people of her village both as midwife and healer as the Plague decimates the region. Her struggle is made worse by the fact that her husband, Raoul, forbids her to go near Plague victims, for fear she will succumb to the disease herself, as well as possibly infecting their daughter, and so to continue to perform her medical duty she is forced to defy him. In an age when women were generally nothing more than chattels she takes an enormous risk to do this.
I loved seeing the town of Lucie-sur-Vionne as it would have been in the fourteenth century: as always Liza Perrat’s writing takes the reader there so vividly that you see, hear and smell life as it would have been with all its beauty and horror, noise and stink. Her descriptions of the Plague are equally vivid and not for the faint-hearted, but far worse to stomach was the terrible cruelty of the age. When the town is plundered by a group of horsemen, their savagery to the local people is harrowing enough, but later in the story when the local leper community is scapegoated, a devastating scene ensues. Later in the novel, the memory of the fate of the lepers returns to haunt Héloïse when she finds herself imprisoned and fears what her own sentence will be.
To avoid any spoilers, I won’t reveal any more about the story, which is full of delicious twists and turns. One of the joys of the book for me was learning so many everyday details of medieval life and in particular, about the herbs used by the healer-midwives of that era. I also loved returning to the same beautiful French landscape, which I’ve ‘seen’ now in the eighteenth century and the mid-twentieth century, but as it would have been in a much earlier time. Watching the farm-workers and the merchants and tradespeople go about their everyday lives as Liza Perrat describes them is almost a cinematic experience. The images and the story will stay with me. Essential reading for lovers of historical fiction.
***

on November 29, 2015
I've read both the other Bone Angel books by Liza Perrat and enjoyed them very much. I was not surprised, therefore, to find this one also a great read. Though it's the last in the trilogy, it is the first chronologically and gives some insight into the genesis of the bone pendant.

The story is fascinating and the characters are well developed. The life of a midwife in the middle ages was not an easy one, it seems. Considered almost a witch, Midwife Heloise is feared and hated even by some of those who need and use her services. She has her friends and supporters too, though, and is herself a fine example of a strong woman unafraid to stand up for what she believes in.

I always enjoy discovering new facts and information when I read a novel, and this one does not disappoint. In the course of the action, we learn about midwifery and other health issues in mediaeval times, and about herbalism and treatments. We also learn about the plague spreading across Europe and the methods, often bizarre, of attempting to deal with it.

There is so much packed into this book yet it never feels bogged down with history. The focus is very much on Heloise, her family and husband, and her fight to bring healthcare to her village.
***

on 16 November 2015
Looking for a good read? Then this historical love story cum gripping suspense ride is definitely the one for you. I guarantee you will love this heart-rendering, heart-warming tale that leads you through the trials and tribulations of the courageous heroine of this marvellous novel – Héloise; mother, lover, midwife extraordinaire – a character that will remain with you long after you read that final tremendous page of Blood Rose Angel.
***
 

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