My rating: 4 of 5 stars
If you want forensics and historical fiction all in one place, this is the book for you. While I was occasionally distracted by wondering how historically accurate Adelia really was, the story was fascinating enough that it didn’t bother me. Franklin did, however, seem to go to great lengths to show how and why Adelia was unusual for her time – she was not depicted as just some strong, educated, un-superstitious fluke but a product of an unusual upbringing. There were also frequent mentions of how if the locals knew what she was really getting up to, she’d be hung or tossed in the river with little debate. Apart from that issue, it was a fascinating depiction of life in medieval Cambridge. The plot does deal with some horrific violence against children, which to me was worse than the descriptions of examining corpses. Still, the characters were nuanced and flawed and compelling, and I’ve already got the next book (The Serpent’s Tale) waiting for me.
Recommended by Leila.