Elsker Saga: the Prophesy of Ragnarok by ST Bende
Well ST Bende may well have lived in Norway but I’m not at all sure she actually visited England – especially Bibury and London.
Now I can speak from real life experience as I have visited and stayed in Bibury, the Cotswolds and surrounds many times, and live in London, so here goes with the errors in the book – which irritated.
Bibury is in the Cotswolds near Cirencester. It isn’t a town, not even a village. Just a few weavers’ cottages from the 17th century, some pubs and one being particularly nice we have stopped at a time or two, and a mill which is also a tea room and shop. It is basically a tourist stop.
There is no pond but the River Colne runs through it and alongside the road which has a nice pavement and sitting areas where you sit to watch the brown trout swimming in amazingly clear water. There is also a trout farm by the way. But the river is clear and you can see the gravel bottom. You then walk around the river across the bridges and through a water meadow path. You can also visit the weavers’ cottages if one is open. The cottages were built with a very large loft space for weaving in good light. Wool of course as this was the source of the wealth originally of this area – now it is tourists! These cottages are made of cobblestone, but cobblestone is not a common building material in England, look rather to brick and flint. There is no pond.
Oh and a cobblestone patio would be very uneven to sit on and rather uncomfortable – tables would rock – we do still have cobbles in many places, even London alleys and small streets.
Yew – well I have never heard of a yew hedge being called a dale – a dale is a valley as in Swaledale, but a hundred years for a yew hedge is young. They can live for 4-600 hundred years on average but some are dated to the 10th Century and the Fortingall Yew – which again I have visited – in Perthshire, is thought to be approximately 2000(!) years old. They are frequently clipped into fantastical shapes – or used to delineate gardens within gardens. They don’t like to be waterlogged, so Bibury would not be a good place for one.
And then there is London. She has clearly been watching old films. New York is grey and grimy, London is clean! It may not be white – I doubt if Cardiff is white either – but it has been cleaned up since the Victorian era and no, we don’t have smog anymore – that was caused by coal fires and we don’t have them anymore either in London.
Then we come to discussions about Cardiff University. Here I am not sure whether she used US terminology to help her readers or just was unfamiliar with the UK university system. So here goes with reality – from a university lecturer…
There are 3 years to a UK UG degree. Not 4. It would be only in the second semester of year one or during year two that an exchange student could attend from abroad. There is no such thing as a sophomore, underclass/upperclassman, senior. Just year 1, 2 or 3 students. Nor do they take term papers. They may well have to take an end of semester exam or to write an end of semester essay. 2 semesters per year unless you are in Oxford or Cambridge.
And does moss smell? Well some moss smells of cannabis! Yes that’s true, but mainly it just smells earthy and not much at that unless you have a whole lawn of it…
So having got my irritation out of the way, what about the book? Well I did look up Nehalem also as it was such a strange name and it is a real place. on the river Nehalem in Tillamook County, Oregan by Nehalem Bay. Established in 1889 it now has (2013) a population of 267 people…
In this book we have a fairly traditional base story – see Barbara Cartland where the mousy heroine scoops the hottie who was never before seen to be interested in any girl. the naive 18/19 who is from the backwoods interests a person who is several hundreds of years old. hmmm.
But the heroine has a secret. And we find that despite her naivety and her age she will play a crucial part – that she has been born to do – in the future of our worlds.
Despite this it was not high drama or the best style of writing but fairly much the traditional Mills and Boon style. With so many mistakes in it about the UK it was also aiming at a US audience who wouldn’t know better. Hint to US authors – use the internet better if you are going to use real place names. There were just too many pre or mis-conceptions of how the world works in the UK.
It would also take around 2 hours plus to drive to Bibury from Cardiff – through terrible traffic on the M4 – a notorious traffic jam of a road especially in this part of the world. Everyone goes to the Cotswolds if the weather is good… And as for the Slaughters… yes there are really villages with these names and pretty they are too wit a stream running through the middle where kids paddle.
Oh – I forgot – 2.5 stars for this book.