4 out of 4 stars
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Are you ready for some time travel? Then buckle up and come along! This story transfers us back in time, all the way back into the year 887 A.D. Located in between majestic alpine mountains and overlooked by the Abbey of St. Maurice is an ancient Swiss village called Baccis. On the stone steps of the monastery, we meet a charming, intellectual man with a poet’s soul. Monk Anselmus has lived his whole life in the abbey but has lately been experiencing a nagging feeling of boredom. He is suspecting that life should have more to offer. By coincidence, Anselmus meets two young villagers. Aïlla is a serf girl desperately running from her destiny. The poor girl has been ordered to share a bed with her lord Baron Turumbert, but she is in love with freedman Albé. Unfortunately, their love is doomed as they are socially incompatible. Together the two have decided to flee to the mountain. They plan to spend a winter there. Monk Anselmus sees a glimpse of the meaning of real love in these two and chooses to help them in their desperate attempt. Together with his friends, Anselmus does everything in his power to stop the revengeful Baron Turumbert.
GRIUNS A folk tale by Nigel Patten is an imaginary story of the first permanent inhabitants of the village of Gryon in Switzerland. Gryon is a stunningly beautiful alpine village high up in the mountains overlooking the Rhone Valley. As it is the author’s current place of residency, he has felt obliged to tell the story of its origins. Nobody knows for sure how it all began for Gryon. The official records don’t go back that far. However, Patten states that if you keep on asking around long enough, you might bump into someone who tells you this story. You must understand that inhabiting these fierce mountains during the winter was a risk that no-one was willing to take. Surrounded and isolated by the vast amounts of snow in the middle of the wilderness where bears and wolves were the only other forms of living creatures, survival was not self-evident. Even nowadays, living in Gryon permanently doesn’t suit just any average person. I have been lucky enough to visit these whereabouts. Therefore, it was thrilling to go on an imaginary time-travel exploration with the help of this book.
Reading GRIUNS A folk tale was pure enjoyment. Nigel Patten’s description of the times felt relatable and realistic. Also, the story was well-structured and easy to follow. I felt like I was walking the aisles of the monastery side by side with monk Anselmus and could see the world through his eyes. There was absolutely nothing to be found that could have interrupted the flow of reading this imaginary tale. The author was partially using the archaic forms of the English language, which added to the enjoyment of the reading experience. I utterly loved the old parlance and was rather fascinated by monk Anselmus’ pedantic, thoughtful and, somewhat melancholic personality. Also, Aïlla and Albé were good choices as the main characters of the story. They were not born to be heroes. They were just two ordinary young people trying to get by in difficult circumstances. The whole story of these two in their sweet innocence was altogether lovable.
Finding something to dislike from this book proved to be very difficult. The character of Baron Turumbert was naturally repugnant. However, the story would not have been the same without him. Therefore, the only criticism I have left is the length of the book. GRIUNS A folk tale was only about 100 pages long. I enjoyed reading it so much that I felt it was over way too soon. I would have liked to know what happened to the three lovable protagonists after I had to say my goodbyes and close the last page of the book.
I am privileged to reward GRIUNS A folk tale with a full rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I liked the book so much that I would have even wanted to add a plus to this rating. I feel obliged to mention that GRIUNS A folk tale included some grammatical solutions that seemed odd to me. However, the author was using old British English instead of modern American English, and this probably explains it. In any case, the story truly pampered my inner language nerd with its pleasantly flowing rhythm. It also nurtured my beliefs of goodness and good people existing in this world. They have stood against evil throughout human history, no matter what the outcome might be. I warmly recommend GRIUNS A folk tale to everybody interested in history. Also, if you love the rhythm of the archaic English language, this book is a treat you do not want to miss!
GRIUNS A folk tale
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