1353, Colmar in Alsace. Three women have survived the Black Death but need to adjust to the changes in their village. The need for money alongside a spate of thefts and murders leads to the women stepping out of their traditional roles to thrive within their community.
The Alewives is an historical novel with elements of murder mystery as well as humour.
Gritta, Appel and Efi are women trying to survive in a man’s world as well as having the danger of the plague. Gritta has 12 children and a useless husband while Appel and Efi are both widows. The community are reeling from shock at the devastation of the plague, murders in their midst and their church is threatened by the theft of precious items.
Loving history, I enjoyed being transported back to medieval times. The church and patriarchy dominate society and the women’s lives are governed by their status in relation to men. The plague has decimated the population and now the community is adjusting as well as families on a personal level. There were also accusations of witchcraft which is another topic close to my heart as I wrote my dissertation on it.
This isn’t a long book but I felt that I got to know the three women well although they wasn’t much emotional exploration or depth. There are lovely turns of phrase and comedic moments which lighten the tone and make the women more relatable. I enjoyed the narration which brought the characters to life and carried the plot developments with humour and wit.
The Alewives is a quick and interesting book about women’s lives in medieval Europe with a murder thrown in.
Colmar, 1353 CE
Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!
Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.
* * * * * A short, sharp, snappy, hugely entertaining, medieval mystery that portrays the realities of life at the time, with just the right amount of humour to make it thoroughly entertaining. A well-deserved 5/5 from me! – MJ Porter, author of Cragside and The Erdington Mysteries
* * * *.* ‘The Alewives’ is laid out with great compassion, insight and humour and the reader comes to care for these people! The strong and growing working relationship and friendship of the three ale wives in question and round which the action evolves is moving and profound. we are left hoping that good times – and further adventures – are just around the corner! – The Historical Fiction Company
Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in Elizabeth R. Andersen’s life: writing and history. She finally decided to put them both together and discovered her true love.
Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her young son and energetic husky. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters.
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Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
My name is Ella Lynch, I am an experienced British audiobook narrator and nature-loving treasure seeker on an ever-evolving journey of connection and expansion through the art of storytelling.
I am an empathetic, married mum of 1, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a mental health advocate. My lived experiences inform my art, helping me deeply connect with the intentions behind words and relay them intuitively to the listener.
I gained a triple distinction in my (BTEC) National Diploma in Performing Arts from Truro College, and have been working as a professional audiobook narrator since 2018. In this time I have narrated over100 audiobooks, voiced numerous healthcare explainer videos for the NHS, provided VO for children’s animated audiobooks and even dubbed a Russian commercial!
I have a particular passion and flair for Magical Realism, Literary Fiction and LGBTQIA+ Romance and Comedy, and as a voracious reader myself I absolutely thrive on bringing all words, across multiple genres, to life for listeners.
When I’m not in my booth you will likely find me walking my dog on the beach, paddleboarding an estuary, exploring the UK in my self-built campervan, playing boardgames and cooking up delicious plant-based feasts for my family. A vegan of over 20 years, I love crochet, painting, fires, swimming and hoola-hooping as well as meditating, practicing Reiki and EFT tapping and deep, heart-felt connection.