Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adam of the Road

Author: Elizabeth Janet Gray
Publisher: Scholastic
Copyright: 1942, renewed 1970
Genre: YA Historical Fiction

Adam of the Road is a really old book, and I've read it so many times I can practically quote from it by heart, but I wanted to share it with you. It's a great book, and one definitely worth finding and buying to keep and re-read again and again. (This image is not what my cover looks like. This is probably an earlier edition.)

Set in England in the thirteenth century, the book follows the travels of Adam Quartermayne all over Southern England. Adam starts out with his father, a minstrel, but soon gets separated from him and from his beloved dog through a series of incidents and misunderstandings. Adam travels to places he thinks his father may be, and along the way meets many interesting characters and has a few adventures.

Adam, though clearly flawed, is a really likable boy, and I ended up rooting for him and cheering him on throughout the book. He and the other characters, both good and bad, are believable and relatable, even though they live in times very different from ours. They face issues that we would never come across today, but their reactions make them real, and I felt a connection to these characters of long ago.

The author brings history to life as she shows what life was like back then, whether in school, on the manor, on the road, or at a fair. The story is rich with detail presented as part of the story, always there for a purpose and furthering the plot. I was always drawn into the picture of the medieval world as Gray presents it, and as I learned more about this time period in school, I began to appreciate how real and accurate this picture is.

I absolutely recommend this book. I just found that Elizabeth Janet Gray wrote a few other historical novels, and (if I ever have time - my to-be-read list is growing and growing!) I'd love to read more of her books.

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