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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


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Historical Novel Society

A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory

A Plague on Both Your Houses - Susanna Gregory

This was a book that had been recommended to me by several people as I lamented the fact that I had run out of Shardlake books to read. Some elements of Gregory's writing were reminiscent of Sansom's, even if I didn't feel quite the affection for Matthew Bartholomew as I did for Matthew Shardlake.

Bartholomew's story takes place significantly earlier than Shardlake's as well. The plague rages through England in 1348, and he finds himself one of the few physicians willing to treat and comfort the suffering poor. However, the plague is only the backdrop of the mystery that consumes Bartholomew's thoughts and threatens his life.

Residents of Michaelhouse at Cambridge are dropping like flies, and not just of the plague. As the bodies pile up, Bartholomew has suspicions of everyone surrounding him. He is intelligent, if a little naive, but is still shocked to the core when he discovers the truth behind the murders.

This plot is full of twists and turns, some of which are slightly implausible. I found it a fun read, satisfyingly sprinkled with historical tidbits. At times the story was too convoluted and the "Let's summarize what we know" moments were annoying, but it was a good enough introduction to make me want to read more about the selfless physician, Matthew Bartholomew.