Book Review: The Perilous Gard
By Elizabeth Marie Pope
Kate and Alicia Sutton are ladies in waiting to the banished Princess Elizabeth. Kate is banished to a distant castle named Elvenwood Hall, also known as the Perilous Gard by Mary Queen of Scots when she falls out of favor by a letter written by Alicia.
Kate is under the care of Sir Geoffry Heron, but he doesn’t stay long at Elvenwood Hall because of his grief over his lost daughter Cecily. Christopher Heron is an enigma who has closed himself off from society. Kate quickly discovers that the people surrounding the Perilous Gard are superstitious and she becomes embroiled in the intrigue of a dangerous kingdom.
Adult Point of View
As a historical novel, I enjoyed the descriptions of the clothes and the setting. The character’s speech is not from the 1500’s, however, I think that would be hard to replicate and still make the novel approachable for tween and teens. The descriptions are lovely and not too burdensome for readers today. I enjoyed watching everything enfold, even if it is a predictable ending.
I particularly enjoyed the main character, Kate Sutton, she is direct, but also unsure of herself. She is required to use her wits and perseverance for her survival rather than an unrealistic set of sword skills. I also liked the values portrayed. Christopher Heron felt he owed a penance for the suffering he had caused his brother rather than expecting forgiveness. The greatest joy that Christopher looked forward to was to own a home with his beloved and direct Kate rather than a life of ease and wealth. Kate was not willing to live a lie and force Christopher to fall in love with her through fairy magic from the Green Lady. One of my favorite lines was when Kate tells Christopher he doesn’t look like a god, but an over-decorated gingerbread man from the market. Such a ridiculous statement causes Christopher to rip off his helmet in indignation. Thinking about it still makes me laugh.
The Perilous Gard reminds me of The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle because of the eerie setting. Though the goblins of The Hollow Kingdom are not anywhere as dangerous as the fairy folk in The Perilous Gard. This is a fantastic novel for tweens and early teens.