REVIEW: 'The Adventures of Alianore Audley' by Brian Wainwright

The Adventures of Alianore Audley (1995) by Brian Wainwright was a fun historical romp set in 15th Century England. It’s obvious that the novel is very well researched and also a page-turner. The author does an excellent job of weaving fact with fiction and mixing in bits of biting humor and wit. This book was rec’d by Jayne from Dear Author. I enjoyed it immensely.

Much of the narrative is tongue-in-cheek and the plot moves at a swift pace. Our narrator is Alianore Audley and she shares many of her adventures that include her spying for her cousin, King Edward IV and for the Yorkist cause. She also shares her disdain for those “Woodvilles” and spares nothing in her opinion of the War of the Roses that secured that “Tudor Slimbag”  Henry Tudor to the throne.

The author’s wicked sense of humor included many exchanges like this one where Lady Tegolin comes to the Audley home and takes Alianore as her pupil for her teachings because she believes she has a gift.

“One night, as we sat by the fire, she asked what I could see in it.

“Sticks burning. Smoke. Flames. Ash.” I said.

or this one where Alianore is unwilling to see her gift, Lady Tegolin gets angry with her:

“If only you could overcome your handicap! I can see your power. It glows around you. Do you not feel it?

I feel a draught from the door.”

And here’s my favorite scene, where Alianore is at the convent, discovers a body lying in the grass and suspects that there has been foul play made ” by a heavy blow from a blunt instrument.”

“This proves nothing,” said the Prioress, airily. “You are wasting time, child, which could be better devoted to our prayers for this unfortunate man’s soul.”

“There’s one other small piece of evidence, ” I continued, standing up again. “You obviously dressed in some degree of haste. No doubt that’s why you’re wearing his drawers on your head instead of your wimple.”

The Prioress ripped off her unsuitable headdress and threw it as far away from her as her strength allowed. Do you know, she was not the least bit amused.

This book is available as an ebook in Adobe format (boo!) or as a paperback novel from If you’re a fan of historical fiction, this novel is not to be missed.  While reading this novel, I was reminded of another favorite author, Diana Norman. Both authors have complete authority of their facts and can create a captivating tale that doesn’t feel like a history lesson. The Adventures of Alianore Audleywas a very good read and a strong recommend for historical buffs. My grade, A.

[tags]Brian Wainwright, Historical Fiction Review, Ebook[/tags]


About Keishon

Voracious reader of just about everything.
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11 Responses to REVIEW: 'The Adventures of Alianore Audley' by Brian Wainwright

  1. jmc says:

    I ordered a copy after reading the review at Dear Author, but I haven’t read it yet — it’s perched atop Mt. TBR. I’ll have to start it next 🙂

  2. Ames says:

    I love sarcarstic heroines! This sounds very interesting, so I’ll keep an eye out for it. Thanks Keishon. 😛

  3. Jayne says:

    I wish it had been available from Amazon when I bought it. Instead I had to wait for it to arrive from Australia! I’m glad my rec didn’t steer you wrong Keishon. jmc, let us know what you think of it.

  4. Keishon says:

    Jayne, your rec’s rarely steer me wrong, my dear.

    JMC – hope you like it, it was a hoot.

  5. Robin says:

    Maybe this will be the book to initiate my foray into ebooks. Why do you hate the Adobe format, Keishon? (obviously I know nothing about this, except that I have a Mac and hope that doesn’t make such a big difference anymore)

  6. Jane says:

    * Raising hand and waving it wildly in the air * Can I answer Robin’s question about why we hate Adobe format? Because it is the format that the devil thought up to make ebook readers curse, cry and bemoan their existence. I don’t know how many people have lost a ton of money from purchasing Adobe ebooks.

    Here is how it works. You buy an Adobe ebook. You must “authenticate” your version of Adobe reader. Sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t. There is no customer service that will help you. No online support. No phone support. You cannot print, save or possibly even make an electronic bookmark. Your computer crashes. Or you buy a new computer. Or you want to read the book you bought at work on your home computer.

    You must reauthenticate. Unfortunately, it thinks you have already authenticated your computer so it won’t let you reauthenticate. You curse. You throw things at the computer. You leave messages all over the internet in hopes that someone can help you. Finally, you break down and call a toll number for some help. After all, you paid for these books and you would like to access them again. After hours spent with customer support they suggest redownloading your books.

    Some stores don’t let you do this. So you are out whatever you paid for these books and even though they are sitting on your harddrive, you don’t have the special key that unlocks the books.

    Plus, you want to read the sucker on a handheld device? Well, the formatting of the book sucks on a smaller device. The “re-rendering” never quite works. Your book is not portable at all. Is the font too small? Too bad. Would you like to read the book with an offwhite background and a grey text? Soo sorry.

    If all we had for ebook formats was Adobe I wouldn’t be reading ebooks today.

  7. Robin says:

    Hmm. I’ll ask the tech guys at work (who set up my computer since I telecommute over many many many miles) if there’s a way around this.

    Thanks for the answer, though. I was hoping that downloading to a blank CD might work, but it sounds like the problem is with the Adobe software. Does it make a difference if you have the entire Acrobat program and not simply the reader (you know, the one you actually have to PAY for?), or is this a glitch in the whole Adobe infrastructure? Unless Adobe has a proprietary interest in the ebooks themselves, this makes no sense to me, because the reader is free, so they can’t be worried about pirating the reader. Weird.

  8. Keishon says:

    Besides all that Jane attested to, I hate the format on my PDA. I was able to convert the files to the Mobipocket format which rendered it much easier to read with better font. I’d get the paperback if I was you but that’s just my advice. Or get Mobipocket and convert the files. Mobipocket is free.

    Also, I would never read these ebooks on my computer unless I had to like with Ms. Meyer’s unpublished excerpt from Edward’s POV, the stand alone sequel to Twilight that I would love to have on my keeper shelf and on my handheld—is in adobe pdf format and I can’t transfer it at all. That sucks the big one.

  9. Robin says:

    If the problem is that the ebook has to match up to your specific copy of Adobe Reader, I wonder if you downloaded the reader itself on CD and booted it from there, so that even if your computer crashed it wouldn’t affect your back up ebook copies.

    I’ll take a look at Mobipocket, too. As one of those Cult of Apple people, I try to avoid all things Microsoft as much as possible (Office is my MAJOR exception, and only because the Mac version is supposed to be better and more stable than the PC version).

    I can see this whole ebook thing is going to be a project. I gotta get a reader, too, or a PDA or a Treo Smart phone or a Blackberry or something.

  10. Jane says:

    I don’t know that you can download the reader to a bootable CD. I do know that even if you have Acrobat (which I have), you still have to “authenticate” it to read your ebooks. The problem is that there is some specific tech magic associated with the ebook and how it communicates with the reader.

    And as Keishon says, its not just the DRM issues that are problematic. If the publisher/creator of the ebook does not make it re-renderable, the text is almost impossible to read on handheld devices. Essentially, what it does is force you to scroll from the left to the right on your screen for each sentence. This makes it very difficult to read.

  11. Keishon says:

    I know other people enjoy Adobe FWIW but with my limited experience with that format, I choose to avoid pdf format. It’s headache. Anything that I can convert to html or mobipocket works for me. Anyway, good to luck in the land of ebooks 😉

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