[Edit: Originally published November 5, 2016]
Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! is a book of interconnected poems about, as the subtitle suggests, life in a medieval village. Each poem is about a character, the poems end up interconnected if any of the characters interact with each other. There’s even a couple that are designed to be conversations. This is because these poems were originally designed to be plays. So technically, I guess we should call them mostly monologues and the one’s that are a conversation, dialogues. It would be very interesting to see these performed.
The poems have no names other than the character name and who they are in the Village, such as “Hugo: the Lord’s nephew” or “Taggot: The blacksmith’s daughter.”
Because the poems are written in a medieval style with medieval language sometimes a modern reader might require an explanation. Footnotes are seamlessly incorporated into the pages. They’re listed on the side of the page, right next to where the note is in the text of the poem. Very easy to find as you don’t have to go looking for them. There are also a few pages in the book that give a little bit of history to help put the book and the poems in a larger context.
There are twenty-two poems total. I’m not sure I could pick a favorite because they’re all incredibly interesting in their own ways.
It’s a very fun way to get a look at this period in history, which is one of the things I really adore about historical fiction.
The book also has some absolutely fabulous art. There’s a little bit of art of the characters at the beginning of each story, and then there are other larger pictures interspersed throughout. On top of being beautifully written, the physical book is gorgeous in it’s own right.
You can find the book here.