Read My Lady Judge by Cora Harrison Online


In the sixteenth century, as it is now, the Burren, on the western seaboard of Ireland, was a land of gray stone forts, fields of rich green grass, and swirling mountain terraces. It was also home to an independent kingdom that lived peacefully by the ancient Brehon laws of their forebears.On the first eve of May, 1509, hundreds of people from the Burren climbed the gougedIn the sixteenth century, as it is now, the Burren, on the western seaboard of Ireland, was a land of gray stone forts, fields of rich green grass, and swirling mountain terraces. It was also home to an independent kingdom that lived peacefully by the ancient Brehon laws of their forebears.On the first eve of May, 1509, hundreds of people from the Burren climbed the gouged-out limestone terraces of Mullaghmore Mountain to celebrate the great May Day festival, lighting a bonfire and singing and dancing through the night, then returning through the gray dawn to the safety of their homes. But one man did not come back down the steeply spiralling path. His body lay exposed to the ravens and wolves on the bare, lonely mountain for two nights . . . and no one spoke of him, or told what they had seen.And when Mara, a woman appointed by King Turlough Don O’Brien to be judge and lawgiver to the stony kingdom, came to investigate, she was met with a wall of silence . . ....

Title : My Lady Judge
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312368364
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 311 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

My Lady Judge Reviews

  • MaryG2E
    2019-03-21 04:46

    3.5★sSome years ago I had the opportunity to travel around Ireland and I spent some enjoyable days in County Clare, where many of my forebears originated. On the northwest coast is the remarkable area called The Burren. It is a region of dramatic landscapes, with large tracts of rugged, exposed rock and treeless plains. Despite its harshness, the Burren has been occupied for thousands of years and is home to some of Ireland’s finest megalithic sites. Its remote and inhospitable situation made it one of the regions of western Ireland that were beyond the influence of English occupiers, and which allowed a distinct indigenous culture to flourish. No doubt it added a special dimension to my reading of the book that I had stood at some of those sites and embraced that unusual landscape in person.The story, set in May 1509, opens on the eve of Beltane, the pagan feast which celebrates the start of summer. The whole community has assembled at a sacred site to attend the neighbourhood session of the Celtic law court, presided over by the remarkable woman Mara O’Devoran, the Brehon, or judge, of the Burren. She has a number of petitions to consider and cases to adjudicate. During the proceedings Mara realises that her talented but prickly legal clerk, Colman, is running his own agenda, which is highly unethical by the standards of the day.A few days later, Colman’s lifeless body is found on a mountainside, with the dagger of a young law student buried in his neck. It seems that most of the community had walked past that body during the Beltane celebrations, but nobody reported it to the Brehon for investigation. Clearly the residents of Cahermacnaghten and surrounds had issues with the late Colman. This reluctance to speak up about his death adds an extra dimension to the investigation that Mara must undertake in order to understand what happened and to expose the culprit. Her inquiries throw up more questions than she could ever have imagined, and she must draw on her considerable knowledge and dauntless personality to solve the crime.I would not call this brilliant writing, but the plot is strong enough to overcome my reservations about the literary style. The quality of the prose varies, with some lyrical passages describing the natural environment. Yet there are some really clunky sentences, and some minor discrepancies within the text which suggest that the book could have benefited from better editing. My interest in what is, at heart, a very modest whodunnit lay with the historical aspects of the story. Many of the characters and incidents are drawn from real life, as author Cora Harrison, a Burren resident, has undertaken extensive research into the area and its unique culture. The Brehon law of western Ireland existed for many centuries before and during the English occupation. I was intrigued to learn more about it, albeit in the context of a novel, because it was so fundamentally different from the British-based legal system in my own society today. The whole premise of crime, guilt and punishment under Brehon law had at its core a very different set of beliefs and mores. This aspect of the novel certainly set me thinking…The lesson that emerges from this pleasant, very readable, low-key crime novel is that human nature does not change, despite the circumstances. There will always be good and evil, honest and deceptive, compassionate and cruel, greedy and generous. In this instance it was interesting to read how one society dealt with the dichotomies. That sixteenth century isolated community relied very much on trust and co-operation between neighbours, as there was no police force, no sheriff, no prison, no guns, no adversarial legal system. In terms of novel writing, Cora Harrison has had to rely on the strength of her characters to provide the impetus to drive this narrative. I think she succeeds well, but with some occasional bumps in the road.

  • Hilary
    2019-03-27 07:46

    Having enjoyed one of the more recent books so much, I decided to start from the beginning of the series.Here we see Ireland - so often an afterthought in English history books - at the time of Henry VIII's ascension to the throne, undergoing some cultural changes and seeing the threat of becoming nothing more than an English province, potentially losing hundreds of years of legal judgements and history. Unlike English law, Irish law was more compassionate, less about fierce judgement and more about recompense.There were some clunky bits in the writing, mainly to do with introducing many foreign terms to an unfamiliar and distant audience, and Mara herself seemed a little short-sighted at times, but both can be taken as first-book issues. I actually liked that Mara wasn't all-seeing and all-knowing, as some mystery protagonists can be, and that human error was not always avoided.

  • Diane K.
    2019-04-10 06:05

    If you happen to be a fan of Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma mysteries, you will likely enjoy this series. Both deal with formidable Irish ladies who are trained in the Irish Brehon laws. While the Sister Fidelma books take place in the seventh century, at a time when the Irish Celtic church was beginning to go head to head with the Roman church, this series is set just after Henry the Eighth has become king of England. The Irish Church has become firmly absorbed by the Roman, and now the Irish law system is under attack by the English, who consider them barbaric. (This from a law system that hangs children for stealing a loaf of bread.) The Brehon laws are based on repentance and restitution, rather than the English law which sees justice as simply revengeful punishment.Mara is a Brehon, a judge, of the Burren, a rather remote and austerely beautiful part of Ireland. She not only serves as the first, final, and only word on law matters in the Burren, she also teaches a group of aspiring lawyers. When a "secret and unlawful killing" (meaning a killing that no one will admit to and apparently has no legally justifiable reason) takes place during a celebration, Mara undertakes the investigation with cool logic and a passion for fine detail. Unlike Sister Fidelma, who only has Brother Eadulf trailing in her wake and occasionally saying something useful, Mara makes full use of her scholars, who are of various ages and levels of intelligence. They seek out information for her, and discuss the case from all possible angles. Mara patiently works out the case step by step, and the conclusion is both logical and compassionate.I understand that Cora Harrison lives in the Burren, and her love for the country is clear in her marvelous, lyrical descriptions. Each chapter is headed with a short passage from the Brehon laws, on a subject that pertains, more or less, to something going on in that chapter. The mystery is good, but the gorgeous background and the fascinating information on Irish law and culture are what keep me engrossed. All the characters are well written, and if you go on in the series, you'll watch them changing (occasionally for the worse). Because of this, it is much better to read this series in order.I wish you joy in the reading!

  • Ana T.
    2019-03-26 08:11

    love to read mysteries and when that is combined with an historical setting I can't resist adding them to my wish list. That was what happened with this book, I read a review somewhere and thought it might be interesting. It was! The story is set in 16th century Ireland, Mara O'Davoren is a Brehon, a judge in the kingdom of Burren, and she runs a law school. Mara is an interesting woman and the glimpses we have of her past only made me more curious about her. She is a keen judge of character and has an interesting way of dealing with people. She is a bit displeased with her assistant, Colman, a nineteen year old that grew up in her law school but that is giving her an uneasy feeling in his dealings with the other.On Bealtaine night Colman is found murdered in the mountain and nobody seems to have seen anything. Mara soon realises that her doubts regarding Colman were well founded that more than one person could have an interest in seeing him dead. One of the things I liked most about the book was how it showed a different culture. Especially the legal aspect, since this is a mystery and the main character is a judge. In the story it is mentioned that the English law is based on Roman law and Celtic law isn't. Their approach to the crimes and the criminals is completely different and I thought that was very well explained here.It is very easy to read as the author has a simple writing style and although it wasn't fast paced, I couldn't put it down because I found the setting so interesting. Grade: 4/5

  • LJ
    2019-04-19 11:09

    MY LADY JUDGE (Hist. Mys-Mara-Ireland-1509) – VGHarrison, Cora – 1st in seriesMacmillan, 2007, UK Hardcover – ISBN: 9781405091909First Sentence: It was the, as it is now, a land of grey stone.The people of Burren, Ireland climbed Mullaghmore Mountain to celebrate May Day. After the celebrations, one person doesn’t return. Mara is the Brehon or judge and lawgiver who had been appointed by King Turlough. Mara’s assistant, Colman, has been murdered and Mara must uncover the killer. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of Brehon law or the fact that, as opposed to English law, it gave women equal right to men in terms of marriage, owning property and having professions. That knowledge, alone, made this worth the reading. But I also found it a good mystery with bit of a romance. Dialogue is not the author’s greatest strength but was involved enough in the story I could forgive the author that shortcoming. I am very much looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

  • Spuddie
    2019-03-26 05:03

    First of a new historical series set in early 16th century Ireland, featuring Mara, Brehon (judge and lawyer) of the Burren, a somewhat isolated area of western Ireland. When one of Mara's assistants at the law school she runs, Colman, is found stabbed to death the morning after the Beltaine celebration on the mountain, it is up to her to investigate. Before too long, she realizes that she was not the only person who didn't much like her unpleasant assistant--he was blackmailing numerous people, and thus the suspect list keeps growing longer the more Mara looks into things.It was interesting to read this book, given that one of my favorite historical series is Peter Tremayne's Sister Fidelma series, featuring another Brehon but taking place nine centuries earlier. Much of the same laws were retained, and many of the Gaelic words were familiar from reading that series. There are some similarities between Mara and Fidelma, but many differences as well. This author does a wonderful job of setting the scene, giving a real sense of place with wonderful descriptive writing. Mara's character becomes quite well drawn and defined by the end of the book, and she's a character that I definitely want to go back and visit, along with the secondary characters she's introduced us to. I quite enjoyed this, and subsequent books may even be better once I get over the comparison to Tremayne's books.

  • Kindred Spirit
    2019-04-15 03:45

    Tossing up between 3 and 4 stars for this book. 3.5? (I wish Goodreads did half stars.)This book is set in the Burren, in western Ireland, in 1509 and focuses on Mara, a female Brehon (judge/law officer) in Gaelic Ireland and her investigation into the secret and unlawful killing of her assistant.I found the first few chapters a bit slow, as they were mostly prosaic passages of the scenery or a description of this case or that bit of Brehon law, but the story picked up once the events of the eve of Samhain began and I really enjoyed the rest of the book. I liked learning about different aspects of Brehon law and its focus on openness and community and acknowledgement of wrong doing and how this compared with the English laws of the time, which were slowly becoming more prevalent in other parts of Ireland. I think I will definitely read the next book in this series at some point! Many thanks to Ellen for this lovely book :)

  • Cheryl
    2019-04-13 07:47

    Loved this. These tales are apparently based on actual cases from 15th/16th century Ireland. Mara is the Brehorn of Burren (my best guess is sort of like a DA here). She's the only female Brehorn in Ireland (a divorced one at that) and responsible for a law school (where they started their legal education at 8 years old....) and trying and judging all local legal cases. Henry the VIII is newly crowned and the possibility of an English threat looms quietly in the distance. However, murder, mayhem and local politics abound - interwoven with her own romance with the King.There's a lot of history in these and while the story and mystery are wonderful the best part is the history. You just don't see much historical fiction taking place in Ireland during this period probably because of Tudor-mania. These are well written, well thought out and lots of fun!

  • Eadie
    2019-04-08 08:46

    This was a great book about the Burren region in Ireland and a look at Irish Medieval history in the 16th century. It shows the roles that women and men played in the political and social events of that time. Mara is a lady judge and uses the Brehon law in order to make wise decisions. I also enjoyed her budding romance with the King and I will be sure to read the next books of the series as I am interesting in following the romance as it develops. The characters are believable and the murder plot was intriguing and held my attention in regards to how Mara solves the crime. I would highly recommend this series to those who enjoy reading about Medieval Ireland or the Peter Tremayne series.

  • Alice
    2019-03-26 11:05

    Absolutely Excellent. It takes place in 1509 Ireland. Mara, is the Brehan, our lady Judge. The book is mystery and focuses around a murder and rape and how Mara applies the old Celtic Brehon Law to these cases. Very interesting look into Irish History. The great Irish Wolf hounds are bounding around too. Wonderful read highly recommend it. I nice mix of mystery, history and a little romance

  • Susan Parks
    2019-04-02 10:55

    Very interesting. I am looking forward to the next one.

  • Julie
    2019-03-21 05:49

    Good plot, neat setting, bad writing. If you're going to use a foreign language term, don't always couple it with the translation.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-26 11:45

    First book in the series. It wasn't really spoiled by not being the first of the series I read. Picked up the second book while at the library today.

  • Helen
    2019-03-26 12:06

    I enjoyed this visit to 16th century Ireland and particularly appreciated the comparison between the English system of guilt & punishment and the Irish system of restorative justice, although if you were rich you could probably get through the Irish system as easily as through the English one where rank most definitely had its privilege. The idea of there being 7 types of marriage would work where communities are reasonably small and people know or at least know of most people so they wouldn't be secret arrangements. I doubt the church thought favourably about it though. It's hard to tell from this book because the one priest we meet is not a positive example.Mara, the lady judge of the title, has a number of years' experience at evaluating witnesses' evidence and is not easily taken in, but her hands-on approach is certainly different from most modern systems. She is also the head of her own law school where (mostly)boys come very young and are given the laws to memorize and debate their meaning. Mara was a fully qualified judge before she was 21 and had already been married and divorced by that time. It is a different world but MS Harrison gives us the background quite painlessly and even gives us snippets of law in the chapter heads. The community is complex, if small, and you can see how easy it is to distrust and reject neighbours who are, as the Newfoundlanders say, "from away". They're not our people so if we can say they are at fault, good, because then we don't have to look closely at our own.Some of the people have been to England or seen English law in Dublin. There is a definite fear as to what will happen if young Henry VIII ("Isn't it funny how they number their kings, as if they've no imagination.")decides he needs to stretch his strength in war. They just have to keep their heads down and hope his attention is drawn elsewhere.What is the book about? Oh, right! One of Mara's scholars, her assistant, is found dead, "unlawfully killed", after the Bealtain fire celebration and the knife in his throat belongs to one of the younger boys, although no one seriously thinks he did it. As Mara digs into the case she finds the young man had not been endearing himself to te community and that makes it difficult to get to the heart of the murder. It shouldn't be too hard to get a confession because the main penalty was the paying of the man's honour price, which varies with the person's status, but no one seems ready to admit to the act. The plot flows well and logically and I look forward to reading more in this series.

  • Juls
    2019-03-23 03:55

    Loved the characters, the sense of place and time in history - didn't know anything about that time in Irish history, the detective side of it, very gentle easy read.

  • Katie
    2019-04-01 10:55

    Set in the Burren region of Medieval Ireland (an area I was completely unfamiliar with), Harrison has created a cast of characters that feel both authentic and multi-dimensional. Outside of Ireland proper, I would imagine that few students receive history courses in old Irish (or Brehon) law. While the tales of the Tudor court and dynasty are familiar (this novel is set in the early reign of Henry VIII), the customs of the medieval Irish were new and fascinating. Harrison does a great job incorporating the Brehon law into the novel in an unobtrusive way with short excerpts from written records of the law as well as through the protagonist, Mara, who acts as the Brehon or judge for the Kingdom of the Burren. This first entry in the series of Burren mysteries focuses on the murder of Mara’s young assistant in the law school she runs. Harrison introduces a variety of plausible suspects, but the ultimate perpetrator came as a surprise to me. My biggest quibble about the novel was the use of Gaelic words without the inclusion of a glossary in the text (perhaps in the physical book this existed, but I was reading the Kindle edition). Gaelic is a language that really cannot be sounded out phonetically and I find it frustrating not to know how to pronounce names of people or places. Additionally, the use of Gaelic terms without definition made me glad for the Wikipedia feature of my Kindle reader, something that not every reader will have handy (and did not offer a comprehensive explanation of all terms I tried to search). At the end of the day, I enjoyed the book and quickly picked up the second. It’s always fun to find a new author that one enjoys and I definitely think I have found it with Cora Harrison.

  • Russell Atkinson
    2019-04-07 05:11

    The lady judge of the title is Mara, a Brehon in medieval Ireland. She runs a law school and is courted by the local king. The names of characters and places are all Gaelic. All these aspects make the book unique in my experience and I was not entirely comfortable with it at first. It was a struggle to remember who was who when I couldn't recognize the female names from the male. I still have no idea of the geography and I've never been a fan of historical fiction. It also is a rather slow-paced book. Mara seems overly interested in flowers for my taste, especially those blue gentians. So at first I was rather impatient with the book. Had it not been for the fact it was chosen for my book group, I might not have finished it.I'm glad I did. The gentle pace grew on me after a while and I certainly appreciated the lack of cursing, torture, and crudeness one finds in too many mysteries these days. Eventually I was able to distinguish almost all the characters and the careful and detailed development of each. As an attorney, the discussion of Brehon law was fascinating to me, although I have no way of knowing how accurate the author's portrayal of it is. The chief distinction from English criminal law seems to be that punishment is always a fine and depends heavily on the victim's "honour price." There is no imprisonment or death penalty, even for murder. Don't be misled. There is a murder early on and that forms the central plot line, so true mystery fans will have their raw meat to chew on. But the author likes to take us on a history lesson disguised as a detective story and I fell for her ploy. She hid the pill inside the candy very well.

  • Bess
    2019-04-15 05:10

    This book read like a Matlock episode to me, except, it was a heroine legal figure vs. male and the setting was Ireland in the 1500’s, not Atlanta in the late 1980’s. Matlock was a trusted, well respected figure in the community, even though he had flaws, as does Mara in My Lady Judge. Matlock can spot very important clues in the most ordinary circumstances, as can Mara. Matlock doesn’t have a spouse, but does have adult kids, leaving him free to pursue his career and guess what, Mara doesn’t have a spouse but has an adult child & grandkids who live in another city leaving her free to pursue her career & hobbies. There wasn’t anything wrong with this book per say but like watching Matlock, you feel compelled to finish watching the episode but at the end you are left with the felling like you really didn’t need to spend your time that way. There are some references to England and English law vs. the Brehon law that was standard during this period of time. The limited parts of the book describing Brehon law & the way of life during that period were interesting & I would have liked more on that topic and less on the “who dun’it” crime solve. Also, a family tree or rather a clan and neighbor tree would have been helpful, along with a map of Ireland depicting the cities & towns that were discussed in the book. With all of the “O’ this and Mac’” that it was very hard to keep track of all of the characters that cycled through the book.

  • Clare O'Beara
    2019-04-06 07:59

    This gently-paced tale set on the Burren region in the west of Ireland, shows a lady Brehon or judge called Mara. She teaches a law school of young students - the author has been a principal teacher. At this time Henry VIII has just come to power in England and there are fears that the new wealthy king will look to extend his power overseas. Mara fears that the students may be involved when a young man is found dead after a traditional celebration on a mountain. However she is a kind and trusted person so she manages to get the stories out of various people to determine what happened and with whom. Along the way she travels by foot and by pony, so the story is not fast-moving. Animals are important in the story as they were to the farming people. Characters are well described as is the countryside, native plants and foods, and the atmosphere of the time. We also get a quotation of Brehon laws before each chapter, telling us the degrees of marriage (seven); the obligations when rearing a foster-son; and the occasions when injuring someone is not liable to incur a penalty, such as during sports or when the injuring party is slow-witted. These all help to set the scene and explain why a Brehon judge was respected by the people. Anyone who enjoys the mysteries about Brother Cadfael or Sister Fidelma should have fun with this series, which is distinct in not having a religious main character. The second book is called The Michaelmas Tribute.

  • Diane Morasco
    2019-04-10 10:08

    The amazingly talented Cora Harrison, a veteran novelist for children, steps into the adult sphere w/ an alluring historical novel that will knock you breathless w/ her vivid imagery.Harrison has created an empowering heroine w/ the delightful, energetic & lovable Mara.Harrison delivers the goods w/ an unparalled mystery set in a medieval kingdom off the spectacular coast of Ireland.Mara is Brehon (a medieval Irish judge) of the Burren, appointed to this distinguished position by the King himself, following the death of her father many years prior. Aside from the duties of Brehon, Mara also runs an area law school. Whew! How do we spell busy? M-A-R-A!Harrison does a phenomenal job @ delving into the very core of human nature in this remarkably electrifying novel! Mara really was spot on w/ her sleuthing skills. I found myself holding my breath @ times while she was on the "hunt" for the culprit.Harrison presented the clues & facts but I was still left speechless. Brava, to the awesome Harrison for pulling me in, hooking me all along & making me feel my adventure was more than I dared to dream. What an adrenaline rush it was for me, as I furiously turned the pages. WOW!!!Thank you, Ms. Harrison!Harrison's prose is rich, beautiful & extremely well written. I loved My Lady Judge & will be reading the rest in this incredible series!

  • Brandi
    2019-04-14 11:01

    Cora Harrison’s My Lady Judge is a simple, enjoyable read that also presents an important perspective on medieval Ireland. Harrison’s thorough knowledge of Brehon law informs an engaging murder mystery and creates an intimate vision of 16th century Ireland without falling into pedantry. So much of what we know about medieval Ireland is derived from English texts – see Edmund Spenser’s A View of the Present State of Ireland (1596) or John Derrick’s The Image of Irelande (1581; contains some incredible woodcuts). The portrayal of the Irish in such texts is inhuman and sickening to the modern reader, and it is against these sort of texts that the importance of Cora Harrison’s work becomes clear. Her moralizing tone is occasionally grating – “There may come a time… that no matter what we do, the law of England may prevail in Ireland and our Gaelic way of life and our Brehon laws, with all their humanity and their mercy, will be lost for ever” (140) – and I would have been intrigued by a more complicated presentation of this community (especially in the context of a crime novel). However, her central idea – that compared to the Irish laws, the English system at the time was “barbaric” (139) – is vital enough that I’m willing to overlook her slightly idealized portrayal of 16th century Ireland.

  • Lisa
    2019-04-03 07:02

    It was ok. I had a big problem with Mara, the brehon. It seemed to me that just when she ought to be questioning people to get to the heart of a problem, she was letting them walk away. She also had a very, very poor understanding of a character who had been in her school for fourteen years.And the main problem I had with the story was the writing, particularly when it comes to describing emotions and feelings. In one sentence, for example, Mara smiles, and in the next she's impatient. This type of writing was rife in the novel and pulled me out of the story each time.So, it was only ok.

  • Gail Nyoka
    2019-04-14 04:47

    Not only is this book a wonderful mystery, but a way of learning about Brehon law, which was formerly the law in Ireland. The story takes place in 1509, when English law is beginning to encroach, but has not yet taken hold universally. The differences are striking.

  • Kath
    2019-03-24 04:48

    Beautifully written, wonderful story.Looking forward to the next book in the series.

  • Mary Meiklejohn
    2019-04-03 08:55

    NOPE. 17% of the way through this, our "wise and just" heroine determines that a rape accusation is false because the victim is ugly and the accused man handsome, and because the victim doesn't remember what the man was wearing that night, and a girl who was "seduced" would remember that. Eff off, perpetuation of rape culture! Done with this book.

  • Emily Wallace
    2019-04-02 05:43

    I wanted to like the book. I am very careful about how I pick my books for personal pleasure reading. I read the description and reviews. This one disappointed me. I finished it (barely). I didn't feel close to the main character. I didn't like her voice. It just wasn't a book for me. Obviously this is popular it is a series for goodness sake. Just not for me.

  • S
    2019-04-05 08:11

    This book was difficult for me to start going. One chapter in and I'm still not that interested. Might be the way language played between English and 500 years ago. Idk

  • Trevor Hollingsworth
    2019-04-05 05:03

    Ive been meaning to start reviewing each book I read on here and I keep putting it off. I usually read 3 or 4 books at the same time and Im sad the first I finished in this last batch was this one and now my first review will be a negative one. I cant wait to finished two of the others im reading so I can spout joyous praise but for now... there is this review. I hate to rip on books because all books have value and I have a great respect for those who are able to get published and share there work with the world. This is just one person's opinion but I found this book to be Incredibly dry, slow, and full of characters that had as much depth and emotion as rice paper. The only reason I finished it was that my book club chose it for this month. The "mystery" was no sherlockian tale. More like the author took you by the hand and slowly lead you down a straight path and over explained every detail while at the same time stopping to comment on random things that had very little purpose and could easily have been edited out of the final draft. The one character who could have had some depth turned out to be the overly cliché evil lust filled priest but even he was a flop due to huge holes in his development, motivation, and purpose. All in all if you like the books I rated as 4 or 5 stars AVOID this book.

  • Heli
    2019-03-22 12:05

    Gaelic Ireland was on the treshold of new times in the early 16th century. The Tudors were builing up their power in England and Ireland’s old society and its customs were changing. The old Gaelic laws were based on the consensus of the community, mutual aid and sense of responsibility.The status of women in Ireland was generally speaking good compared with the conditions elsewhere those days. For example, divorce was legitimate, also on the initiative of the wife, and women could work independently as physicians or lawyers, as does the heroine in Cora Harrison’s series The Burren Mysteries.My Lady Judge is the first book in the series. On the first eve of May hundreds of people from the Burren area climbed the limestone terraces of Mullaghmore Mountain to celebrate the great Bealtaine festival. One man did not come back down the next morning. His body was found two nights later. And Mara, the judge and lawgiver to the kingdom, was met with a wall of silence when she began to investigate his death. Mara succeeds in solving the mysteries of the present and the secrets of yesterday as well, but the big questions concerning her own life, especially her love life, remain unanswered… My Lady Judge is a charming and exciting book for all those who love history and murder mysteries with a pinch of romance.

  • Sarah
    2019-03-25 08:46

    Loved, loved, loved this book! Can't wait to read the rest of the series. Usually I'm the person who skips over the quotes at the beginning of chapters because the author is trying to be "deep," but this time I didn't. Each chapter had an excerpt of the English translation of ancient Irish law books--fascinating stuff. And, of course, this book is about a female brehon (judge/teacher of law/king's court) who has most of this stuff memorized so she can pass judgement on her people in the Burren. I feel like this book gave me great insight into life in medieval Ireland--fascinating how women have more rights here until the English came along and took all that away. In this book, Galway is English and Henry VIII has just taken over in England, so the change is starting to happen. Now that I know how the laws of ancient Ireland worked, I understand how they didn't understand the English! Two totally different sets of laws. And, I gotta admit, the Irish ones make a lot of sense. Most of the punishments were fines of cows or coinage, and the clan had to pay if the accused couldn't. Fascinating stuff. I can't wait to find out more.