Monday 17 December 2018

Nici's Christmas Tale: A Troubadours short story (The Troubadours Quartet Book 5) - Jean Gill

A stand-alone short story in the multi-award-winning Troubadours Quartet series

1157: Aquitaine. The wolves are coming! At midnight on Christmas Eve, while the blizzard blasts snow through every crack in the castle walls, Nici the Shepherd's Dog stands guard in the sheepfold.

Beside him as usual are his pack and the flock they protect but this night is not usual at all. A small boy braves the snowy night, seeking the protection of his great friend while he is banned from his parents' quarters in the castle.

Nici recalls other times and other dangers, his trials and failures, the reasons why he ran away with a young girl, now the little boy's mother. He would still give his life in a heartbeat for Lady Estela. And yet, on this snowy night, he cannot help her. So, while he waits and comforts Estela's son, he tells his own puppies the story of a dog's life.

What did I think?

What better book to get me in the mood for Christmas than a festive short story from Jean Gill's fantastic Troubadours series.  Jean Gill has such an amazing talent for transporting the reader back in time to the the 12th century and what better hero for this story than Nici, a beautiful white dog, who has been at Estela's side throughout the series.  I have read all of the previous books but this reads so well as a stand-alone that you can most definitely jump into the series at this stage. 

The opening paragraphs gave me goosebumps with their resemblance to the biblical story of Christmas and I could feel the magic in the air as our loyal and brave canine friend, Nici, was finally given a voice.  Through Nici's strong and powerful voice we learn how he came to be by Estela's side, with Estela's own story having a fairytale edge that reminded me of Snow White.  Both of these resemblances gave the story such a magical feel that I forgot that I was listening to a dog's story, although being a Troubadours fan I know that Nici is not just any old dog.

I'm not usually a fan of short stories but Jean Gill has won me over with this perfect length story that gives us a glimpse into the history of Estela and Nici in what I think of as a prequel to Song at Dawn.  This is a book for historical fiction fans and animal lovers alike but I do urge you to pick up the previous books in the series for the full 12th century experience.

From its beautiful festive cover to the magical story inside, Nici's Christmas Tale charms and delights, making it the perfect read for the festive season.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed returning to the 12th Century, Michelle! Thank you for featuring Nici on your blog.