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Book Club 3.3 - The Roland Medals by Maureen Cashman.

Carol Daly

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
[Moderator note: Since the forum "book club" (such as it is ;)) currently happens to be reading this book, this independent thread is being renamed and included in the book club. Other comments on this book are welcome on this thread.]
___________________________________________________________________________


Hello Aussie Camino people
How great to find you here.

Canberra author Maureen Cashman’s years living in a village on the Chemin de Saint-Jacques in France, and walking the Camino in France and Spain, inspired the setting for her intriguing new novel The Roland Medals. Camino walkers will love visiting and revisiting iconic places in this ‘mystery with history’.

In 1593, a wandering monk, Carmelo, creates a series of medals featuring Roland, celebrated in the medieval epic poem, ‘The Song of Roland’. In 2012, Armi, a young Finnish Border Guard, flees a murderous partner and sets out to walk the Camino.

Although separated by five centuries, their journeys and stories, and the mystery that connects them, converge at a ruined monastery on the Camino de Invierno near Las Médulas.

If you enjoy mysteries with touches of romance, historical fiction, love Spain and the Camino or just enjoy a great read, this is for you. Sue Farrelly 2021

A gripping and fulfilling read. Cashman has really researched all aspects, both historical and contemporary, to make for a very interesting and compelling story. Her style is clear and easy, allowing the reader to enjoy the richness of the plot, as well as the landscape and people. Once I started reading, I was hooked. I loved this book. Helen on Apple Reader (5 stars) Goodreads

The Roland Medals by Maureen Cashman is available as an e-book and in paperback. See the website
www.maureencashman.com for more information and glowing reviews.
 

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Camino Way Markers
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Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
G'Day Carol. One - welcome to the Forum and Two thanks for the advice on the Camino book. Its been a while since we have had a new "historical novel" to entertain us. Pity we are just coming out of lockdown on the East Coast at least. I will do the investigations early tomorrow for obtaining an e_book first. Cheers
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I am currently reading The Roland Medals, but will save further comment until I have finished. Anyone is welcome to post a review below.

As noted in this thread, we have a line-up of books for the next few months. A new thread will be started for each of them as indicated.

I also found a forum thread about The Roland Medals from earlier this year.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
I just started reading The Roland Medals too. She is just past Orrisson and I am a little annoyed by the portrayal of the pilgrim couple in their "mid-60s" calling people "dear" and sounding a bit dotterish. I'll overlook this for the time being! :D
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I am a little annoyed by the portrayal of the pilgrim couple in their "mid-60s" calling people "dear" and sounding a bit dotterish. I'll overlook this for the time being! :D
Haha! Yes, I agree. I googled to find out how old the author is. From a photo, she isn't young enough to have youth as her excuse for that stereotyping. The American gee-whiz couple keeps popping up. Nevertheless, the book isn't bad!
 
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JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
Haha! Yes, I agree. I googled to find out how old the author is. From a photo, she isn't young enough to have youth as her excuse for that stereotyping. The American gee-whiz couple keeps popping up. Nevertheless, the book isn't bad!
I had to bite my lip at her "grey blue eyes" and the "long wavy blonde hair tumbling down" when she took off her hat. And all the men hitting on her, like that's okay and acceptable. Why can't women just be *people* in books, just like men? Okay, I will keep reading.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Most years since 2012. Hoping now for 2022.
I have finished the book. Reviewing a book such as this is a real problem. As a "normal" read, I might have put it down without comment - not a brilliant piece of literature, but mildly entertaining. However, it is a CAMINO-book, so it is judged differently by camino fans. The Camino content is not huge, but it is enough to keep my interest.

Instead of being too critical, I am trying to imagine what it is like to write a novel with the Camino setting. This makes me wonder what it is like to write a novel, period. I realize it must be hard.

Some comments:
  • Why do writers need to tell us so bluntly about the gray-blue eyes, wavy blond hair, the gap between his front top teeth? Let us imagine what the people look like, with more subtle clues embedded in the narrative.
  • What was it about Armi's character that made everyone love her so much? This wasn't developed very well, as she spent a lot of time recovering from trauma, sleeping, or ill. Everybody wanted her to stay, but I really couldn't figure out why.
  • I almost preferred the story-telling of the medieval story part, even though battle strategies always confuse me, and the resolution of the romances was rather convenient.
I was impressed with the detailed research described in the Afterword. But I thought that half of the story complications should have been removed, to explore a few themes with more subtlety and care.

Still, I enjoyed reading the book, which I borrowed from the library, but it wouldn't be on my recommended list.
 
Last edited:

Carol Daly

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
G'Day Carol. One - welcome to the Forum and Two thanks for the advice on the Camino book. Its been a while since we have had a new "historical novel" to entertain us. Pity we are just coming out of lockdown on the East Coast at least. I will do the investigations early tomorrow for obtaining an e_book first. Cheers
Hi Saint Mike II. thanks for your welcome and hope you managed to get The Roland Medals as an e-book on your Kindle or iPad either the usual way or through Maureen's website.
Yes, now that lockdown is being eased, even at different rates in NSW, ACT and Victoria, and the PM has said that the border might open for next year, we can begin to dream of Camino and other o/s trips again!
 

Carol Daly

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
I have finished the book. Reviewing a book such as this is a real problem. As a "normal" read, I might have put it down without comment - not a brilliant piece of literature, but mildly entertaining. However, it is a CAMINO-book, so it is judged differently by camino fans. The Camino content is not huge, but it is enough to keep my interest.

Instead of being too critical, I am trying to imagine what it is like to write a novel with the Camino setting. This makes me wonder what it is like to write a novel, period. I realize it must be hard.

Some comments:
  • Why do writers need to tell us so bluntly about the gray-blue eyes, wavy blond hair, the gap between his front top teeth? Let us imagine what the people look like, with more subtle clues embedded in the narrative.
  • What was it about Armi's character that made everyone love her so much? This wasn't developed very well, as she spent a lot of time recovering from trauma, sleeping, or ill. Everybody wanted her to stay, but I really couldn't figure out why.
  • I almost preferred the story-telling of the medieval story part, even though battle strategies always confuse me, and the resolution of the romances was rather convenient.
I was impressed with the detailed research described in the Afterword. But I thought that half of the story complications should have been removed, to explore a few themes with more subtlety and care.

Still, I enjoyed reading the book, which I borrowed from the library, but it wouldn't be on my recommended list.
I'm glad you enjoyed reading the book and, although it isn't your favourite, that you appreciated the research Maureen did and that it led you to think about fiction writing.
If you don't mind telling me, which library did you borrow it from?
 
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TrvlDad1

Covidyard Bob
Past OR future Camino
2017 Frances from Saria
2018 Finnisterre & Ingles
2019 Portuguese from Valenca
2020 Assisi(cancel.)
I suggested The Roland Metals after seeing it on David Tallan's bibliography of Camino books. It is one of relatively few fiction books about the Camino in the bibliography, which is surprising given the rich possibilities of the Camino and its long and dramatic history.
I loved the plot and thought the characters were interesting and generally genuine. I especially enjoyed the historical flashbacks which were central to the plot and could have made a novel in themselves. My only criticism of the book is that it is 320 pages and plodding at times with irrelevant details but could have been a real page turner of about 200 pages. But well worth the read and possibly the basis for a true Camino-focused historical sequel.
 

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