I am a big fan of historical fiction. I freakin' love historical fiction. That being said, it is extremely difficult to find good, accurate historical fiction. I am very picky about which ones I will read. It's got to be right. I can't stand it when the female characters are all feminist back in the 1500 and 1600's. That is not right.
Lark is at the very top of my historical fiction list. It is right. *Nods*
So here I go.
"Lark blinked. She had never been particularly conscious of having originality and independence of mind, but now it had been brought to her attention,she saw quite clearly that it was so. The discovery pleased her."
Elizabeth Lennox, known as Lark, is miserably unhappy.
It is the year 1651 and Bonnie Prince Charlie is trying to take back his throne from Cromwell. All of Britain is up in arms and Lark's family, all staunch supporters of the Prince, have been exiled to France. But she was kidnapped by her Uncle Jeremiah, for her own safety of course, and is stuck living with all her Puritan cousins in England.
It is her Uncle Jeremiah's firm believe that she is meant to become a Puritan and marry his son, Will-of-God.
"'Look down upon Elizabeth, Oh Lord,' he commanded. Lark stiffened slightly. "Though knowest how I have tried to lead her from the ungodliness of her early training. Chasten her stubborn and rebellious spirit, and bring her in repentance to Thy feet so that she may become worthy to receive the name Submit."
It's been close to two years that Lark has been stuck living with her Aunt and Uncle, and when she finds out from an unlikely source that her sister, who married a Scott several years ago, is safe and still living in Scotland, Lark decides that she will run away to Scotland.
Something that's very useful to Lark is, even though she is thirteen, she is small and manages to look and act about ten. She uses this to her advantage. No one expects anything cunning from such a sweet, innocent looking little thing.
James is a messenger for Charles the second. He has a very important and dangerous job, traveling through England, and it's just bad luck that brought him to the clearing where Lark had gotten herself in trouble with a rather hulking Puritan boy only two days after her Great Escape.
"She was looking in alarm at a thick-set young man, also in Puritan dress, who advanced toward her angrily. Her brother, no doubt, and none of James's business But an instant later he made it his business For the young man gave the little girl a clout on the ear that knocked her to the ground, and James saw red."
One thing leads to another and James finds himself stuck with this 'little girl'. He knows she's a run-away but she refuses to tell James her real name. He doesn't have time to turn back and figure out where she belongs, and he can't just leave her all alone! Such a lovely little person like her...
So they set off together, James not knowing Lark's real name, and Lark not knowing James's. After all, it's safer for Lark if she doesn't know who he is.
'"But you'll have to go home--I mean back to your Uncle-- sooner or later," He explained kindly. "After all, where else can you go?"
"To Scotland," Lark told him as casually as if she had said, "across the road."
"Awp!" said James inadequately, and then became speechless."'
This story has a little bit of everything. There are plenty of adventure, from Gypsies to escapes, to fights and a little bit of espionage-ish stuff. There is really good character development and the ending is so satisfying. *Sigh* Oh, and did I mention a tiny smidgen of romance?
The bit with the Gypsies is one of my favorite bits. Lark finally realizes that looking young has it's drawbacks. And one of the gypsy girls is very beautiful.
'"She gave Lark a sideways look. "He is very beautiful, this young man you travel with. Is he yours? If you don't even know his name, you can't know him very well. I think I like him."'
One of the things that I really love is how Lark's faith in God changes and grows. She was so young when she was separated from her family, and her Uncle teaches her such different things about God then her family did, that Lark is confused and thinks that God doesn't like her very much. As the story goes along, something happens and Lark has to put her trust in God. It's a subtle, but I loved that side of things.
James is like the perfect hero. He's awesome and might have been my first fictional crush. I would very much have loved to have an adventure with him. But those sorts of things don't happen to me. Maybe because I don't run away and do brave things.
The author handles the whole James-Lark situation really well. Nothing ever feels inappropriate or 'off' with them traveling across England alone. Jame is convinced Lark is very young and it takes the whole story for him to realize that she isn't quite as young as he thought. For the most part, they feel like brother and sisters, with a very gently shift to 'something more'. I love it.
"Lark dropped her chin and made a mental note of James's last name. It was nice. Trelawney. Lark Trelawney would sound well, too."
The dialogue is brilliant. It makes the book so easy to read and the characters are so realistic. I am one of those people that likes my stories character driven and this book totally is.
I have recommended this book to everyone I know. And no one has not loved it. :) Seriously, you should just go read it.
When I was younger, my family insisted that I acted a lot like Lark and I took this as a compliment. I wanted to be like her. She was so brave and plucky.
I am not as brave as she is, but sometimes the way her mind works remind me of myself. She feels logical and wonders why people don't just do things her way. I relate to her a lot. *Snicker*
And if you can't find it, just buy it! (You know you want to! *Grin*) I doubt you'd regret the purchase. GO HERE!
Alright. I should probably stop gushing now. You're all like, "Oh, please..."
But honestly. If you can get your hands on Lark read it. And let me know how you like it. We can fangirl together. Seriously.