Keeper of the Crystal Spring

Written by Naomi and Deborah Baltuck

Book #9 of 2012

Thank you, local library, for introducing new and interesting books into my life.

Nationality: U.S.
Publisher: Viking Penguin
First Edition: 1998
My Edition: 1998
Original Language: English

This was a fantastic book! Based off of true events, it draws the reader in even more.

The book is set in Enmore Green near Sceapterbyrig, now known as Shaftesbury, during the time in England when King Harold disappeared at the battle of Hastings under William the Conqueror’s army.

They had become pawns in King William’s rearrangement of the political chessboard. It had become legal to wed a woman against her will, and Saxon heiresses had been parceled out as rewards to knights who had supported William’s fight for the English throne. Saxon noblewomen had been dragged to church to wed the butchers who had slaughtered their husbands, brothers, and fathers.

It was during a time of much political strife, where mean-spirited men , the Normans, ruled the lands that peaceful people, the Saxons, had once owned.  It was during this same time when the legend of “Robin Hood” was born – though he has nothing to do with this book, you can imagine the setting now, right?

The beautiful little town of Enmore Green, as it is today.

The main character’s name is Aldyth LightFoot. She is a gorgeous 22 year old woman, a virgin, who believes she has a destiny to maintain her “maidenhood” (aka virginity) for the remainder of her life so that she may be the “Keeper of the Crystal Spring” which is the “Goddess’s” way of healing and maintaining a relationship with her people.

“Your name, Aldyth, means ‘ancient prophecy,’ and the time has come for you to fulfill the ancient prophecy for which you are named. May we both be wise and strong enough for this day, for the stars have completed their dance, the Great Mother has aligned the spheres, the spectators have stepped into play. In other words,” said Sirona wryly, “the pot has come to a boil.”

This is the feel of the whole book – and I wish people still talked like this:

“Let you wash the dust of the road off your lips with a mug of ale. Then you must tell us how you have fared on your journey.”

The evil William the Conqueror.

The good King Harold Godwinson.

The authors took a bit of poetic license with the real story, but many parts are still the same as the true events. They used as many real names as they could – including the good King Harold Godwinson, William the Conqueror (or King William), Edith SwanNeck (King Harold’s wife), Sheriff Hugh fitzGrip, Abbess Eulalia, and many more.

After the battle of Hastings, King Harold’s body was never found. It was a legend in England for centuries that King Harold would come back and pull England out of the muck when it was needed the most. He never came back. As for King William, he was said to have gone crazy, seeing King Harold everywhere, and it was said that he actually apologized with his dying breath for all the ruin he brought on England.

The book had a little bit of everything. A little bit of romance, humor, history, legend, magic, and heroism. It was fantastic. Actually, I think maybe my husband is glad I’m done with it – I’ve had my face hidden behind this book for four days. :-)

Definitely recommended.

Happy reading, bookish friends.

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