Jean-Claude Van Rijckeghem (author), Pat Van Beirs (author); A SWORD IN HER HAND; Annick Press (Children's: Young Adult Fiction) $12.95 ISBN: 9781554512904
Byline: Alicia Sondhi
Much to his horror, The Count of Flanders' first child is born female. Marguerite of Male's existence seems to defy her lovely mother's assurances that her child has been born "for love, good fortune, and happiness," and from even before her harrowing birth she must draw upon all her strength to fight for her own life in this historical fiction tale.
Despite her wishes to be as beautiful and elegant as her mother, Marguerite has a fiery streak and a headstrong nature that completely breaks the stereotypes and conventions everyone, including her ruthless father, holds her to. Her mother is eventually sent away to help cure her own madness after another miscarriage, and the Count's bitterness toward Marguerite is fueled. With her as his only heir, he sees his daughter only as a political tool to carry on the power and land he has amassed, with no regard to her wishes or happiness. Facing the intense pressures of war, arranged marriages, and the deathly plague, Marguerite must use all her cunning and will to try to make a life of happiness, and eventually comes out of her darkest time ready to take on life in her own...