Sinful Folk

Sinful Folk

by Ned Hayes, Nikki McClure

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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 claim the promise of her past and create a new legacy. Mear begins her journey in terror and heartache, and ends in triumph and redemption.

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.

Favorably reviewed by bestselling historical writers Karen Maitland, Brenda Vantrease, Kathryn Le Veque, and Ella March Chase, Sinful Folk will be the historical breakthrough novel of 2014.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940148170662
Publisher: Campanile Books
Publication date: 01/01/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 1,065,768
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Ned Hayes holds an MFA in creative writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University. His historical novel, Sinful Folk, was nominated for the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award. The Eagle Tree is based on his past experience working with children on the autistic spectrum and on family and friends he knows and loves. He lives with his wife and children in Olympia, Washington.

More about Ned Hayes at

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Sinful Folk (Book Preview) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
CherishD More than 1 year ago
I did not believe at first that I could even get halfway through this novel...such dark images, such stark lives. The story kept calling me back to it, though...after struggling through the first half, I found I could not put it down. Exceptional writing.
Anonymous 10 months ago
well written, engaging story and setting
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a compelling story. I will read it again I am sure. I love a novel with interesting plots and well drawn characters. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no idea what this book was going to be like but the cover and the title interested me. I could not be happier! This has you feeling so sorry for people, even the people that are liars. I give two thumbs up and recommend this book to anyone 16 and older.
KevinPeterKP More than 1 year ago
Sacred Truths – A review of the novel ‘Sinful Folk’ Author Ned Hayes’s novel ‘Sinful Folk’ is a wonderful concoction of a fictional tale based on a nonfiction premise. In 1377 England, in a little village called the Duns; four young men were burned to death in a hut fire. Illiterate and superstitious villagers were quick to put the blame on Jews and a group of them decides to set out to meet their King in London to seek justice for these deaths. And among this group of men is Miriam, a former nun who has been living amongst the villagers pretending to be a mute man. On this journey you will come to know the secrets of her former life and the mystery behind the fire in the village. There’s something about outcasts and outsiders that appeal to the basic raw emotion in us, on one hand thanking our luck that we didn’t have to go through their fate and on the other, empathizing deeply with their situation. The barren white landscape of ‘Sinful Folk’ suits the bleak mood of the setting and the emotions that the characters go through. And like any literal or metaphorical journeys that we all undertake at some point or the another, the journey these villagers undertake also reveal many truths and old secrets that come tumbling out one after the other. It has a nicely crafted and more importantly an original story that has also been well researched; the dialogues and the language is spot on and it shows the level of author’s commitment to his craft. The writing also ensures that you will deeply connect with and feel Mear’s heartbreak and her pain in losing her only son and then having to learn the truth behind it. The wonderfully illustrated images compliment the story really well and are in fact a visual representation of the words authored by Ned Hayes and introduces to us the people and world he has envisioned and created. ‘Sinful Folk’ is a prime example that you don't need to like dark images in order to like dark brooding scenes, and that you don't need to be gloomy or sad to read a book filled with melancholy. The innocence in the story and the spirit of ingenuity in the narration is what make this book just brilliant.
Bookworm_Babblings More than 1 year ago
I received a free copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. Miriam Houmout has many secrets. After living ten years as a mute man raising her only son in the small village, Duns. She becomes apprentice to the local smithy, Salvius, as her young son, Christian, works with the other young boys helping Benedict the weaver. She's kept her secret close to her heart and only one person has ever known her true identity, her deceased friend Nell. No one knows who actually killed Nell, but everyone assumes it was one of the men working there during the harvest. But when the weaver's home burns to the ground with Christian and four other boys inside, all of the men scream for justice. This book tells of their journey to London and all of the difficulties they endured. When secrets are revealed, everyone's world is forever changed. This was a very engrossing novel. We tend to forget how women were treated in medieval times. They were never allowed to know or do any of the things Miriam had accomplished. A woman hunter was unheard of, as was a woman that could read and write. This was an excellently written novel, with such vivid details that the story just comes to life. If you like historical fiction and want to learn more about the medieval era, then this is definitely a book you'll love!
Mirella More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely making quite a stir in the historical fiction community, and after reading it, I can see why. First, it is a gripping tale about a mute named Mear whose son was one of five young boys/men burned in a house fire that was deliberately set. Second, Mear is actually a woman, hiding from her secret past. And third, this is a marvellous whodunnit filled with twists and turns and plenty of medieval brutality.  Beautifully written, the author has weaved a brilliant tale that leaves the reader guessing to the very end chapters. Lovely first person narrative, rich descriptions, and a cast of colorful, unforgettable characters enthralled me from start to finish.  If you like a good mystery set in a fascinating historical era with plenty of heart-wrenching, emotional, and mysterious scenes, then this is one book not to miss. Definitely worth reading. I highly reommend it to everyone! Pick it up and give it a try - you'll see why everyone is raving about it. 
greyhound_lvr More than 1 year ago
Kept my interest throughout.  Appreciated a historical novel that focused on the lower classes.
jujuthomas More than 1 year ago
I read a lot of historical novels, and the premise behind this one was really intriguing. Unfortunately I didn't find the story line terribly compelling or even very believable.
DebyFredericks More than 1 year ago
Here is a striking historical novel for YA readers, bringing the world of Medieval England to life. Told through the eyes of a peasant, it focuses on the darker side. We see the narrow confines of thought and action that are open to a peasant. Ordinary folk are not educated, and so live in profound ignorance and are prey to superstition. Peasants can't travel without a lord's permission. As the group sets out to plead justice for their murdered children, they are constantly set upon by bandits who want to sell them into serfdom, and by officials who demand why they haven't buried their dead and moved on. It's an unsparing portrait of a society without any of the personal freedoms we take for granted. The main character is a woman, hiding from enemies of her noble lover, who stumbles into the pretense she is a mute man and clings to it through all kinds of danger. She's surrounded by damaged souls who hold ancient grudges and war against each other as much as the obstacles around them. In this atmosphere, it is all too easy for a monster to hide in plain sight, and so the over-riding question of who killed the five boys hangs until nearly the end. There were a few instances were one character of another seemed to do something they should have known better than, and the ending tied up just a bit too neatly. Over all, though, a gripping plot, great period details without anachronism, and a suspenseful mystery.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was many things....sad and depressing yet uplifting and hopefull. A mystery with an insight into medieval life yet a love story of a woman determined to find justice for her son. Just a great book !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago