Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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More nonsense poetry, and orangeries

Here’s a post from Joanna Bourne — thanks for the link to her website, Evelyn — that happens to tie in to a recent post here:

Oranges and Lemons,
Ring ye bells at St. Clements.
When will you pay me,
Ring ye Bells at ye Old Bailey.
When I am Rich,
Ring ye Bells at Fleetditch.
     Tradtional Counting Rhyme 

Those of us with a keen interest in botany will have noticed that oranges — not to mention lemons — don’t thrive in the British climate.  Well, maybe down in south Devon where hopeful souls sometimes plant palm trees.  But citrus isn’t plucked off the tree on Hampstead Heath or in the Welsh mountains.

What is an orange doing in an old, old counting rhyme?
Not to mention lemons.

Good question! Joanna’s post then goes into the history of importing citrus fruits and keeping them in orangeries. Which is well worth reading, but it also reminds me of this book:

Remember Sunwolf? Oh yes, he’s our new gardener. He takes care of the orangery. Ignore all those sword calluses.

Great book. It’s got a new cover, I see:

What a very typical modern cover. Perky young woman with sword. Blends right in with the crowd, I fear. Not that it’s a bad cover, sure, it’s just … another perky young woman with a sword.

The first cover didn’t suit the book, actually. I don’t recall anything remotely like that scene. No organized religion or vigils or anything, not that I can recall. A cover like that does stand out a bit more, though.

Okay! Of this trilogy, I liked the first book the best, but the second book was also very good (Witches of Winshar). The third (The Dark Hand of Magic) was the weakest imo, but still good. Hambly can be — often is — quite ruthless with her characters, isn’t she. That was on display in Dark Hand.

If you’ve read this trilogy, weigh in! I think it would make a find entry point for Barbara Hambly’s fantasy — maybe the best entry point. What do you all think?

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3 Comments More nonsense poetry, and orangeries

  1. Rachel

    Hanneke, yes, in fact. Each book stands very well alone, especially the first. There are plot threads that reach forward, but the stories in the first and second book tie up just fine.

  2. Elaine T

    I remember enjoying the first book quite a bit, so probably a good entry. It could have stood alone, although there were threads to pick up if the author (as she did) wanted to . But it wasn’t necessary – the character attached to those threads was competent and self-motivated enough to assume what needed to happen would. Not that the followon was bad, either, I just didn’t think it was quite as good and original.

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