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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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Northdale
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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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