Review by “Just One More Chapter”: Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes (book tour)


Everything is gone, everything except my memories of a life where I was loved, where I was someone with a future, instead of someone with only a past.

A tragic loss. A desperate journey. A mother seeks the truth.
In December of 1377, four children were burned to death in a house fire. Villagers traveled hundreds of miles across England to demand justice for their children’s deaths.
Sinful Folk is the story of this terrible mid-winter journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. For years, she has concealed herself and all her history. But on this journey, she will find the strength to redeem the promise of her past. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and transcendence.
The remarkable new novel by Ned Hayes, illustrated by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Nikki McClure, Sinful Folk illuminates the medieval era with profound insight and compassion.
I love historical fiction, there really isn’t any sub-genre that I haven’t tried and enjoyed, except one.  That would be, gender role reversals.  I love it when the author writes in such a fashion that I can be drawn in to the story and creates a world that I believe whatever is taking place.  But I seriously had something in my little ole brain that makes it hard for me to believe that a woman can get away with pretending to be a man and have the story work.  It’s not that I haven’t tried, because I did and it didn’t work out too well.
With Sinful Folk the cover was what grabbed my attention as well as the first 2 sentences of the synopsis, I really didn’t pay too much attention to the rest, which clearly stated that Mear, a former nun disguised as a mute man.  By the time I realized this I’d already read the first chapter and was totally hooked.  
If there is one word that I could use to sum up this book it would be ‘secrets’.  Everyone seems to be hiding something, with Mear leading the pack.  The plot of Sinful Folk was intriguing with all these secrets and subplots lingering around one would think it to be confusing and overwhelming.  It wasn’t at all.  There was dept to this story, between the suspicion characters, unsavory knights, fowl weather and much more the journey Mear and the fathers took was vividly described and realistic.  The author definitely knows this time period well, to take a historical truth, the fire that killed 5 boys, and write this book was amazing and I loved the ending, it just finished this book off perfectly.
Ned Hayes has changed my view on gender reversal roles, he made Mear’s character easy to follow and believable, with the way she told this story had me empathizing with her and her situation.