Great Maria

Great Maria

by Cecelia Holland
3.6 14


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Great Maria by Cecelia Holland

Courage of a king, Strength of a knight, Heart of a woman

"A literary phenomenon."

-New York Times

Her father is a robber baron...

Her husband has grand ambitions and a quick temper...

She will become...the Great Maria.

A lush portrait of the eleventh century that leaves out none of its harshest nature, Great Maria is Cecelia Holland at her most evocative. A mere fourteen years old, strong-willed Maria is betrothed to Richard. Theirs is a marriage of conflict, yet one that grows over the years into respect and partnership. As they struggle-at times against each other, at times side-by-side-Maria and Richard emerge as full-blooded characters you'll never forget.

What Readers Are Saying

"Holland's characters are so complex and vividly drawn that the reader actively participates in their adventures."

"An intriguing plot, unforgettable characters, and a wonderful sense of place makes this one of the finest books I have read."

"If Hemingway had written historical fiction, he would have had a hard time beating Ms. Holland. Her terse, tense writing style is incomparable, and her character development is superb."

"A stunning book."

"Characters so believable, they walk off the page and into the room. Few authors can bring the past to life as powerfully as Cecelia Holland. I'd recommend her to any fans of historical fiction."

-Elizabeth Chadwick, author of The Greatest Knight and To Defy a King

"This novel's success is assured by its own excellence."

-Library Journal

"One of the very best historical novelists of our day."

-Larry McMurtry

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781430324362
Publication date: 03/18/2008
Pages: 540
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Cecelia Holland was born in 1943 and has written 24 historical novels, the first of which was published in 1966. The New York Times has called her a "literary phenomenon." She attended Connecticut College and now lives in Northern California.

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Great Maria 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the first novel by Cecelia Holland in which she features a female lead, she should win a large audience of readers! Why this book hasn' been chosen by Oprah, I can't understand. Ms. Holland's heroine, Maria, fits all the criteria - strong woman who matures from age 14 to 40 or so, works through a political and emotional marriage with Richard to forge a wonderful and realistic partnership! Along the way there is political intregue, domestic violence, gay issues, murder, kidnapping, and several excellent love scenes. Ms. Holland's craft is excellent - she reminds me of Barbara Kingsolver in her characterizations. She allows us to know the characters without telling us how they feel; she places her readers firmly in a historical time as though we've stepped into a time machine. If you love this book as much as I do - write to Oprah and suggest it as a choice for the book club!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of Hollands very best, fascinating development of characters, touching. Politics, spirituality, distribution of power, values, all appropriate to this historic age.
SuzQ2 More than 1 year ago
Great Maria. Great read. I loved this book. I finished reading a few weeks ago, I still miss Maria! You start with Maria at age 14, then follow her through quite a life, and yet there is still life to be lived! I wish I knew what happened next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is truly amazing. You watch a young girl grow and mature into a very powerful female figure. It's as if you have been swept back in time, and are actually there- watching things unfold. I would definitely recommend this book to others.
MsDollie 9 months ago
Cecelia Holland's Great Maria is exceptional literature. Characters so real you can't stop thinking of them. A must read for any serious historical fiction reader.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Maria is possibly the best book on any genre that I have ever read. The prose is sparse, yes, but takes little time getting used to. The historical events are based on real people and events, and the characters practically lea off the page. I have read and re-read this book at least three times and each time, I find something new. I have read a number of Holland's books, but Great MAria is by far her best. You will not want this book to end!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, where to start? This book had so many rave reviews that I was looking forward to reading it. Chapter after chapter, slogging through pointlessness, I returned to re-read the reviews to see what I was missing. The writing style is poor. Short choppy sentences, which would have you thinking the writer is trying to create suspense, to build up to....anything...but no, that's just how the book was written, it builds to nothing. The narrative is so stilted and detached, you are unable to develop any kind of relationship with the characters. I forced myself to read up to Chapter 27 and began skimming pages from that point on. Sadly, I was still able to keep up with whatever kind of plot there might be in this manner. I felt duped by the reviews on this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only finished the book for the sake of following through with it. I wanted to stop mid-way. It's a satisfactory enough book, but it lacked any real impact. Even though the entire book is about Maria, and follows her life, the distance the writer creates through her style of writing hindered any feeling of closeness to the main character. As another reviewer noted, the entire book it comprised of the shortest and choppiest sentences. It was distracting, frustrating and proved to be a major contributer to not feeling close to any of the characters. Imagine, an entire book about Maria, and she's always at an arm's length, causing the reader to feel they have no reason to be invested in her. It was bizarre. I'd suggest picking another book because i really felt like my time could have been spend more wisely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
kdjane More than 1 year ago
The writing reads like a screen play. Short, disconnected sentences, very little phraseology, no transitions, much like a 'Dick and Jane' book. e.g.,P.s98:"Maria went up to the hall. The musicians were practicing in one corner. Sunlight streamed in through the open tops of the windows. She unpinned her cloak and gave it to a servant. Two maids cam into the hall, one carrying a baby in her arms. Maria paused, interested. " edit: Maria quietly entered the hall where the musicians had begun practicing and the sunlight streamed in through the open transoms along with the familiar scent of the ward. Pausing, she unfastened her cloak handing it to a waiting servant as two of the castle maids, one carrying an infant, caught her interest. Descriptions are short and shallow. Physical descriptions are cursory leaving out so much of the 'good stuff' of a novel - the stuff that makes the novel breath, live. I am reading the book because I love to read and the title caught my imagination but this one could be so much better - or better yet would be wonderful on the screen where the audience could surmise with their eyes most of what is lacking.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like another reviewer stated, it could have been so much better. Not enough prose and it reads worse than most children's books.