Third and final post for the day is my review of ‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ by Jean Gill. Many thanks to Anne Cater for the blog tour invite and review copy.
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 does TWG think?
I am rather ashamed to say that, until now, I had never picked up a Jean Gill book. How have I only managed to hear about the ‘Troubadours series’ at book number 5?! Don’t panic though, this story can be read as a stand-alone so you don’t need to have read the previous books first.
‘Nici’s Christmas Tale’ is only the second book I have read where the main character was an animal. Having read a lot more books with humans as the main character, trying to change my mindset and remember that if the storyline speaks about urination, it’s the norm for it to be outside!
Nici is such a strong and powerful character, his story telling swept me up in an instance. I was captivated by the way he described his life before the puppies, yet my heart went out to him due to the way he was treated, or should I say ‘mistreated’. No-one should ever be treated like that, especially an animal who wouldn’t be able to defend themself against a human.
Bear in mind that this is a short story with an estimated 58 pages, yet it certainly packed a punch in its own special way.
Jean Gill writes with such authority and poise, I must start this series from the beginning! A unique and captivating story – I really enjoyed it.
About the author.
Jean Gill is a Welsh writer and photographer living in the south of France with two scruffy dogs, a beehive named ‘Endeavour’, a Nikon D750 and a man. For many years, she taught English and was the first woman to be a secondary headteacher in Wales. She is mother or stepmother to five children so life was hectic.
Publications are varied, including prize-winning poetry and novels, military history, translated books on dog training, and a cookery book on goat cheese. With Scottish parents, an English birthplace and French residence, she can usually support the winning team on most sporting occasions.
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