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review 2017-08-18 09:44
The Black Death, midwifery and it was hard to be a woman in XIV century France. Highly recommended
Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series Book 3) - Liza Perrat

I write this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (author, check here if you are interested in getting your book reviewed) and thank her and the author for this opportunity.

This is the third novel I have read in the series The Bone Angel and the fourth novel by Liza Perrat. (You can check my reviews of Spirit of Lost Angel here, Wolfsangel here and The Silent Kookaburra here.) You might have guessed by now that I enjoy her books. Having read The Silent Kookaburra first, for quite a while I thought that was my favourite of the author’s novels (and don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the others) but now, I’m not so sure.

We are in Lucie-sur-Vionne, France, 1348. The whole series is set in the same location and follows the characters of the female line of a family who are linked by their midwifery skills (or wish to care for others) and by the passing of a talisman, the bone angel of the title. All the women of the series feel a strange connection to this angel (whose story/legend we hear, first- hand, in this book) and to each other, although this novel is, so far, the one set further back in the past, and at a very momentous time (like all the others). The Black Death decimated a large part of the world population and this novel offers us the perspective of the people who lived through it and survived to tell the tale.

The story is narrated, mostly in the first person, by midwife Héloïse, whose birth was problematic (her mother, Ava, a midwife herself, died before she was born and her aunt, Isa, extracted her from the womb) and due to the superstitions of the time, she was shunned and taunted as a child (she was not only a bastard, as her father was unknown, but she was also ‘unborn’). She always felt guilty for her mother’s death and resisted becoming a midwife due to that. But, eventually, she heeded her calling, learned from her aunt, and has become loved and appreciated by most people (apart from a few villagers who blame her for unlucky events). Unfortunately, as human nature dictates, when the epidemic reaches the village (at the same time as her husband, a stonemason who had been working in Florence) and people start dying, everybody looks for someone to blame, be it cats, the Jews, the lepers, or… There are a few chapters told from other characters’ point of view, only to complete the picture when Heloise is otherwise engaged (I’m trying not to give any spoilers here).

Héloïse is a strong-willed woman, who struggles between trying to fulfill her vocation (what she sees as her mission no matter how little recompense he gets for it) and being a dutiful wife who puts her husband and family above everything else. She is a compelling character and one that rings true and whose situation is ever relevant, especially to women who always have to try and find a balance between career and family life. She is a worthy heroine, who cares for people, who tries to do the right thing, even if it might cost her, who perseveres and remains faithful to her ideas, who doubts and questions acknowledged ‘truths’, and who is a natural leader. The rest of the characters, both, villagers and nobles, good and nasty, are all well-defined and recognisable, although perhaps the female characters are drawn in more detail than the males (although midwifery and birthing was women’s business at the time, so it is understandable), and I must say I felt like a member of her extended family by the end of the book.

The novel’s plot is fascinating and as good as any historical fiction I have read. History and fiction blend seamlessly to create a story that is gripping, emotionally satisfying, and informative. Even when we might guess some of the twists and turns, they are well-resolved, and the ending is satisfying. (I have read some reviews that mention it is a bit rushed. It is true that it all comes together at a faster pace than the rest of the novel, but my suspicion is that readers didn’t want the story to end. I know that was my case).  The life of the villagers is well observed, as is the relationship between the different classes, the politics of the era, the role of religion, the power held by nobles and the church, the hypocrisy, superstition, and prejudice, and the social mores and roles of the different genders. The descriptions of the houses, clothing, medical and midwifery procedures, and the everyday life are detailed enough to make us feel immersed in the era without slowing down the plot, that is a page turner in its own right. I particularly enjoyed the sense of community (strongly dominated by women) and the optimism that permeates the novel, showing the strength of the human spirit even in the hardest of circumstances. The author includes a glossary at the end that explains the words no longer in use that appear in the novel and also provides background information on the Black Death and the historical figures that grace its pages. Although it is evident that the book involved a great deal of research, this is flawlessly weaved into the story and add to the feeling of authenticity.

This novel, like the rest of the series, can be read as a stand-alone, although I doubt that anybody reading it will not want to read the rest.

Another great novel by Liza Perrat and one of my favourites. I will not forget it in a hurry and I hope to keep reading more novels by the author. I recommend it to readers of historical fiction, especially those interested in the era, the Black Death, and medical techniques of the time, readers of women’s fiction, and anybody looking for great characters and a writer to follow.



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review 2016-04-12 15:33
Blood Rose Angel by Liza Perrat
Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series Book 3) - Liza Perrat

Blood Rose Angel is the third in the L’Auberge des Anges trilogy, but it can be read as a stand-alone, just like the other two books. 


Set in the already familiar Lucie-sur-Vionne, Blood Rose Angel takes us back to the mid-14th century, when the Black Death first appeared in Europe, and this terrible pestilence is what midwife Héloise, the ancestor mentioned in the previous two books, has to face. 


I loved reading about this specific time period from the viewpoint of common people, moreover, from the viewpoint of a heroine who is underprivileged even in commoners' terms, a woman frowned upon for her birth, often disregarded because of gender, and both valued and despised for her profession of a midwife and a healer.


Héloise is a brave, sometimes too reckless a woman in her beliefs and desire to help people, struggling between the profession she has pledged herself to and the dangers it brings for her and her family. Despite the troubles she finds herself in and that make her despair at times, she never gives up her call that drives her and ever revives her optimism, enabling her to take something good from the worst situations and despite everyone else. And so, her 'inferior' knowledge and methods, promoting such 'innovative' concepts as cleanliness and isolation of the sick, bring results and change her life and the lives of others forever. 


Through rich, well-nuanced language, Liza Perrat vividly brings to life the era full of superstition and prejudice, where the governing Church and nobility had all the power and common people had none. However, while she doesn't shy away from gritty details, she balances the toils and troubles of medieval common folk with just as lively images of joy and happiness.


The end result is an intriguing, suspenseful story, full of life-like characters and issues even a modern person can relate to. Hence, I very much recommend Blood Rose Angel to lovers of historical fiction.


Disclaimer: The author has kindly sent me a copy of Blood Rose Angel in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


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review 2015-12-25 11:02
Blood Rose Angel
Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series Book 3) - Liza Perrat

I haven’t read the previous books but this works well as a stand-alone. I don’t think I’ve read anything set during the Black Death from the common people’s point of view so this was a change for me.

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review 2015-12-15 09:45
Blood Rose Angel Blog Tour
Blood Rose Angel (The Bone Angel Series Book 3) - Liza Perrat


on Tour December 14- 23 with

Blood Rose Angel

(historical romance)

Release date: November 14, 2015 at Liza Perrat

349 pages

ISBN: 9782954168197

Website | Goodreads  




1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint. Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France. Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honor the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.




Midwife Héloïse has  been an outcast since she was a child. She is called a non-born. Her mother died while giving birth to her and her aunt Isa had to cut her out of the womb. The local children teased her about that, and as an adult have the taunting children grown up to taunting adults. But she has always been strong in herself, and she has a wonderful husband and a beautiful daughter. Life couldn't be better. But then her husband arrives home after being away for two years and this should be a young full event, but then people are starting to get sick and die. The Black Death has come to their village.

There were a couple of times I had to stop reading this book and read something else, not that it was anything wrong with the book. But because I was so frustrated with the superstition that that characterized the people at the time. How the fear made the people accuse, cats, lepers, and Jews for the plague. Héloïse tries to help everyone that is sick, despite her husband being against that. And, he, in the end, tries in his own way to protect her, but that backfires completely. I was so angry with him at that point. It's hard to read a book about a time when women weren't better than a kept slave.

Héloïse is such a wonderful character, strong and kind, but the superstition against her and the bone-sculpted angel pendant she has after her mother is strong among the people in the village. There are some that sees her for the kind person she is, but she has some enemies with power in the town. And, a deadly plague is the kind of thing that could make her situation worse. Especially since she is quite outspoken and brave. A threat, for instance, could easy be interpreted as a curse...

But for all the darkness in this book are there also light moments, and I think the balance between the darkness and the light is the thing that makes this book so wonderful to read. It's an emotional reading experience. Sadness at the death of a child, joy of a birth and anger at the injustice towards women. I was deeply moved by the story. 




Liza Perrat grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years. When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist. Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France. Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel Series. The second – Wolfsangel – was published in October, 2013, and the third, Blood Rose Angel, is published in November, 2015. She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse.


Visit Liza’s blog Follow Liza Perrat on Twitter | on Facebook | on Pinterest | on Google +
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