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Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.

Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#1 by MarisaRose
» 24 Dec 2016, 09:02

[Following is the official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Northdale" by Robert L. Nelis.]

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3 out of 4 stars
Review by MarisaRose
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Northdale by Robert Nelis is a fictitious historical saga depicting the forgotten realm of Northdale, a remote English earldom, during its heyday. Rupert, a recently appointed Knight, is forced into the position of Sheriff of Northdale for a period of four years due to a childish indiscretion. Northdale is not known for success as intermittent Viking raids plague the land. These raids are brutal on Northdale’s people; murder, rape, and kidnap are just a few of the crimes the Viking raiders commit during the attacks. With a positive attitude, Rupert and his unorthodox wife, Sara, set out to implement unconventional methods to stop the perilous Viking attacks and turn Northdale into a prosperous realm.

Set in the Middle Ages, Northdale explores the boundaries of gender norms during a time period when women experienced significantly fewer rights and employment and educational opportunities than their male counterparts. The author very favorably depicts women throughout the story, which is rather unusual for a book of this time period. The female characters were particularly enjoyable as they were strong willed and defied gender stereotypes. The depiction of women in Northdale strengthened the story and set it apart from other books of a similar caliber.

The novel is fast paced and the story moves quickly. However, some parts felt rushed. I would have liked if the author went into greater detail about certain aspects of Sara and Rupert’s life together in Northdale. For example, the birth of their first child is mentioned only in passing, as the author quickly moves through large periods of time. More time spent on events like this would have created a stronger emotional connection to the characters.

Grammatical errors are apparent throughout Northdale, though they do not take away from the reading experience. Errors mostly include incorrect word choice (using “of” when “as” is meant) and simple misspellings. Other than the editorial mishaps, my main criticism of Northdale relates to the author’s writing style. Throughout the novel, the writing is rather dry; it wasn’t really engaging or lively. The author did a lot of telling instead of showing. For example, when Rupert first arrives at Northdale as the new Sheriff, he calls a meeting of Northdale’s people to better understand their concerns about the land. The author states the meeting was held and then lists the concerns of the people. This scene would have been much more impactful and engaging if the reader could have heard the voices of the people of Northdale and the despair they felt instead of just reading facts.

Although the plot of Northdale was incredibly engaging, the writing lacked luster and thus I rate Northdale 3 out of 4 stars. If the writing style had better conveyed emotion and there had been fewer editorial issues, I would have gladly given Northdale 4 stars. Since I was still captivated by this novel, I recommend this book to fans of historical fiction, especially focusing on the Middle Ages. Additionally, those who enjoy strong female characters will surely like this book.

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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#2 by kimmyschemy06
» 04 Jan 2017, 05:43

For a self-declared feminist, I find it very interesting. Too bad, though, about the writing style. Great job on the review.
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#3 by MarisaRose
» 04 Jan 2017, 06:56

kimmyschemy06 wrote:For a self-declared feminist, I find it very interesting. Too bad, though, about the writing style. Great job on the review.


Thank you :)
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#4 by Insightsintobooks
» 10 Jan 2017, 01:28

I have been thinking about reading this book. I think it sounds interesting especially with the female characters. I'm not sure if I could get over the writing style though. Thank you for the review.
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#5 by MarisaRose
» 10 Jan 2017, 07:01

Insightsintobooks wrote:I have been thinking about reading this book. I think it sounds interesting especially with the female characters. I'm not sure if I could get over the writing style though. Thank you for the review.


I think Amazon provides a free sample; it's definitely worth at least giving it a try! There were many good aspects of the book :)
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#6 by gali
» 09 Jun 2017, 06:30

A book that explores the boundaries of gender norms, has strong female characters, and depicts the forgotten realm of Northdale? Sounds fascinating. Too bad about the writing style and the grammatical errors. Hopefully, the errors were fixed by now. Thank you for the review!
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#7 by OmololaAK
» 09 Jun 2017, 06:37

Yes, the people of Northdale needed a voice, but it appeared as if the women characters were willing to speak up or act out for them somewhat (the circumstances forced them to be more determined I guess).
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#8 by GCamer
» 09 Jun 2017, 07:18

I like that the author focused on strong women which is unusual for this type of stories. Plot seems interesting despite the lack of emotion. I guess improving that would've made the book better. Thanks for the honest review.
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#9 by hsimone
» 09 Jun 2017, 07:26

Thank you for the great review! A fast-paced read with strong female characters and knights set in the Middle Ages sounds like a fun read! Too bad about all the errors you encountered. Hopefully, they are fixed by now. Thank you again for sharing!
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#10 by kandscreeley
» 09 Jun 2017, 07:34

It's sad that the writing was lackluster, but it definitely sounds interesting if you are into the middle ages. Thanks for the review. I'm still uncertain about this one.
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#11 by godreaujea
» 09 Jun 2017, 08:38

I love historical fiction, and the fact that the author has strong female characters is awesome. However, due to your notes about th writing style, I will pass on this one. Thanks for the honest review and congrats to the author for making BOTD!
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#12 by Nina Butler
» 09 Jun 2017, 08:44

It reminds me of other books I've read. I don't know if I would read this because of the dryness of the book. I would read about 20 pages, and if it hasn't hooked me, then I would put it down. Thank you for taking time out to review this book for us. Too bad the story is lackluster. I don't like it when authors don't give the right details. It is almost if they rushed to write it, so they could publish it. As a writer, you should always show not tell because it makes for a better story.
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#13 by Naz2017
» 09 Jun 2017, 09:14

The female character in this story is very strong that's why I just love to read this book and I would refer other people also to read this book and I am sure strong females will love it
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#14 by racer
» 09 Jun 2017, 09:31

This is a little different genre than what I usually read. But after reading the review I will read it very soon. I like the tales of Knights and Damsels from the middle ages..
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Re: Official Review: Northdale by Robert L. Nelis

Post Number:#15 by James Craft
» 09 Jun 2017, 09:58

Truly a unique and interesting sounding book! I like the female character idea!
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