Sunday, May 11, 2008

Good Masters, Sweet Ladies- Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz

"Good Masters, Sweet Ladies" is a Newbury medal winning book that explores the lives of people in a medieval village, or in this case, a village attatched to a lordly manor.

Most of the book is written in blank verse, and is meant to be read as a actor reads a script. Indeed, one of the pieces, Mariot and Maud, daughters of the glassblower, is meant to be read in two voices at the same time.

The book offers a fascinating peek into the world of children many hundreds of years ago, and is a good start to pique reader's curiousity and get them started reading other books that probe deeper into the lives of a few characters.

This is a book that shows the lives of medieval children and teenagers, pointing out how they were constrained in a way children aren't today (girls forced to marry at extremely young ages, forced to marry someone they may never have met before, or someone their father told them to marry, etc. Even boys generally didn't have a choice in whom they married, especially if they were noble. Their parents would set up the arrangements for them, and often they didn't meet their bride until a few days before the marriage was to take place.

Other pages in the book offer details that the readings do not. On falconry, for example, or pilgrimmages or on why farmers rested the fields for a year.

A fascinating, if short look, into the lives of medieval teens and children.

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