I really don't know how Taylin Clavelli does it, but once I started reading this book, I was pulled right into the story - even to the point of getting annoyed that the family needed me, as I just had to finish the story, had to know what happened.
Now I should point out, that I usually don't read books that have history in them, for some reason I hate historical books, but this author has a way with her writing that just pulls me straight into the story, I really can't find the words to explain.
I love the character of Warren, who is comfortable with who he is, but due to previous events prefers to lead a quiet life, and when he needs something else he will arrange a weekend away.
He loves to the town of Walmsley Hackett, and explores the surrounding area, which includes a church with an unmarked grave. Something draws him to this grave, and he frequently goes there just to sit and talk..... little does he know that by doing this, he is then the champion for the person inside the grave, but what exactly does this entail?
This is when everything takes off, and there are very vivid dreams - one of which was Warren taking part in a medieval joust, but it was just a dream.......... or was it?? There is also witchcraft and other mysterious things happening around him, and now Warren is determined to find out why this is happening to him.
I really can't praise this book highly enough, if you love witchcraft, medieval, weird goings on etc., then get this book, you really won't be disappointed. If I could rate this book higher than 5 stars I would, as I enjoyed it that much.
The annual garden party was also a time many took advantage of to network, in various guises. One or two carried virtual knives. Warren knew the game rules. It was a necessary evil in a place where, if you didn’t watch your back, others took advantage. It wasn’t pretty, but it was better than the game some played. He’d been bitten by the latter before; it was one reason for his degrees of separation.
Warren had settled into his comfortable cane chair and relaxed with a glass of wine. He completed the “Hello, darling; wonderful dress, are those new shoes?” social niceties expected of him with the wives, and the “This quarter is going well, any news on that contract?” dialogue with his colleagues in high management. He chinked glasses, ate well, smiled, and conversed with the willing. He stayed with his crowd, and was wary of others who approached him—climbers who decided he was one of those worth sucking up to. Maybe he was unfair to some, but he’d seen too many cases of backbiting to embrace an idealistic approach to office shenanigans.
Secret Of The Manor, is a combination of research, my imagination and a lifetime of experience.
Onto the research. Research is a combination of where to look and who to talk to.
This included looking into the world of the Wiccan. I didn’t honestly know where to start here, so I called upon a lady who used magic in her writings. Since then, I’m proud to say that she has become a dear friend. I was delighted to discover that she was indeed an expert on the subject. I had a clear idea of how I wanted the witchcraft angle to read, and my friend ensured that I stayed within acceptable parameters and didn’t commit any witchcraft no no’s.
Parts of Secret Of The Manor delve into the fifteenth century. One thing I love is history. It was my favorite subject at school, and my husband and I like to visit historical houses. So, I hit the books. I had to have manor events happen during an acceptable era. At the same time, my story couldn’t happen during any major, historically. Hence why I chose after the peasant uprising. The years following the uprising were not only times of change for the peasants, but it also saw a shift in power on the throne of England too. Times of change are always good periods to base stories as it gives them an air of believability.
Looking through the history books, though, isn’t all about targeting events. It’s about researching fashion, food, and etiquette, as well as beliefs of the time. Nowadays, I believe there are few establishments, if any, that would serve peacock as the main course. The aim was to create in my head a factually correct world in which my characters could live in, then add my own touch of imagination. Once complete, I translated that to the page.
Fifteenth-century language turned out to be somewhat of a nightmare. There many websites detailing the speech of the time; unfortunately, each website had its variances. I settled on one site whose information seemed the most authentic. However, when the manuscript was handed over to the Wayward Ink editors, it turned out I’d picked the wrong reference site. A lesson to all there – you can’t believe the worth of having good editors. They are invaluable.
The other bits.
As for the other parts of SOM, they come from a lifetime of experience. Bits from here and there. I have been a horse rider since I was 16 and am now 49. I’ve met a lot of people, and ridden a myriad of horses (all with their own personalities) from a Carthorse, and Thoroughbred, to the Shire. I have also galloped sands in Scotland, cantered the Cotswolds and walked the West Midlands. I have even been to the occasional joust re-enactment.
While I have been to a lot of places, I have to say the village of Walmsley Hackett is purely fictional. Places like the village do exist, but I thought it best to give Walmsley Hackett a history of its own. A friend of mine asked if he could be in a story, so I named the village after him – in part.