Song at Dawn (The Troubadours Quartet, #1)

Song at Dawn (The Troubadours Quartet, #1)

by Jean Gill

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Book 1 of the multi-award-winning Historical Fiction series The Troubadours Quartet 
'Believable, page-turning and memorable.' Lela Michael, S.P. Review 
1150: Provence 
On the run from abuse, Estela wakes in a ditch with only her lute, her amazing voice, and a dagger hidden in her underskirt. Her talent finds a patron in Aliénor of Aquitaine and more than a music tutor in the Queen's finest troubadour and Commander of the Guard, Dragonetz los Pros. 
   Weary of war, Dragonetz uses Jewish money and Moorish expertise to build that most modern of inventions, a papermill, arousing the wrath of the Church. Their enemies gather, ready to light the political and religious powder-keg of medieval Narbonne. 
   Set in the period following the Second Crusade, Jean Gill's spellbinding romantic thrillers evoke medieval France with breathtaking accuracy. The characters leap off the page and include amazing women like Eleanor of Aquitaine and Ermengarda of Narbonne, who shaped history in battles and in bedchambers. 
'Historical Fiction at its best.' Karen Charlton, the Detective Lavender Mysteries 
Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice 
Winner of the Global Ebooks Award for Best Historical Fiction 
Finalist in the Wishing Shelf Awards and the Chaucer Awards 

Product Details

BN ID: 2940152228793
Publisher: The 13th Sign
Publication date: 09/04/2015
Series: The Troubadours Quartet , #1
Sold by: Draft2Digital
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 885,416
File size: 1 MB

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Song at Dawn 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very in-depth but so sad. The whole book was just too depressing wit very little reward. Not sure if I will read the rest of the series or not. Very heavy reading and not really worth it at the conclusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was good but I wanted more singing and dog and less sex. The historical notes at the end are a great touch. I'm glad the author tried to distinguish all the Raymond - s. I still found much of the historical/political context confusing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love historical fiction, but this has a different refreshing take that is very well done. I can't wait to start the next in the series.
SPRcom More than 1 year ago
Jean Gill’s extensive, caring research for her book Song of Dawn places this novel appropriately into the classification of Historical Novel. The front and back matter provide us with a period map, a list of historical figures appearing in the book, and an impressive list of research sources consulted. That the author is a highly-skilled and respectful researcher is all well and good, but the next question is, can she write fiction? In a word, yes. Our protagonist’s personality, chief motivations, and obstacles are outlined within the first two pages; two other major characters are outlined and the plot foreshadowed by the end of the first chapter; and the remaining 22 chapters, with the author’s deft one-two punch of complex characters and an even more complex plot, prove this novel a decided “page-turner.” The plot yields plentiful fodder on the politics of power, both personal and societal; the consequences of religious and ethnic bigotry are explored in depth; we learn that it was once a crime punishable by death to manufacture paper; we receive more than a glimpse of what it might have been like to live in another time period. The mentions of natural remedies and how they were used in the 12th century spice things up, so to speak, and the presence of a big white dog in the lengthy cast of characters doesn’t hurt, either. At 354 pages, a lack of plot is not a concern whatsoever. It is by way of this intricate plot that Jean Gill extracts payback for time spent on her meticulous research by demanding that her reader pay attention. There isn’t one sentence in this book that doesn’t move the story forward. Space doesn’t permit commentary on all of the numerous characters in Song at Dawn, but a brief word on the main character, Estela de Matin. Gill inserts into the story something that sets Estela apart from other fictional female characters such as Jane Eyre, i.e., young women who find themselves cast alone into a world controlled by men and stifling social institutions: Estela wants to be a musical performer. Estela’s desire to develop her talent is arguably her greatest motivation, or at the least equal to, her desire for “true” love and a natural curiosity about sex. In fact, it is in Chapter 1 that Estela must pass an audition in order to literally keep from getting killed. Her beautiful voice saves her. With its detailed historical setting, a believable, page-turning plot, and memorable characters, Song at Dawn is an enjoyable, interesting read. These elements of successful craftsmanship in place, Jean Gill goes the extra literary mile by using an authentic, consistent narrative voice—a voice I not only trust, but am left wanting to hear again. I reluctantly give Song at Dawn a rating of 4 of 5 stars. The paperback copy I read contained several commas that should have been periods, a couple of minor typos, a few formatting problems (all at the bottom of the page), and one obvious use of a cliché. If these things have since been fixed, please consider my rating 5-star.
Anonymous 15 days ago
i enjoyed the book
JJY 8 months ago
A delightful romance! Estella is not her real name but it's the name she chose when she woke up in the ditch with a large dog snuggled against her back. Its the name she gave Queen Alienor when she joined the Queens company on their way to Narbonne as a musician and songster. The Queens knight, Dragonetz los Pros is also a Master Troubadour assigned to instruct Estella while he is also protecting the Queen from assassins. While refining her skills Estella is also subjected to court intrigue, jealousy and plots and a confusing relationship with Dragonetz. The characters were well developed and the setting and story were true to the time period. This is a lovely romance with plenty of intrigues, plots and subplots, battles and beautifully descriptive text. A book for all historical romance lovers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story. I love historical novels and this is one of the better ones that I've read. It is very obvious that there was care taken with research and keeping to the time period. I was impressed that the story did not depend on sex to keep things moving. I applaud the author.
ReadersFavorite More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite Song at Dawn: 1150 in Provence (The Troubadours Quartet) Book 1 is a historical fiction novel, the first in a four-part series, by Jean Gill. Set against the background of political and religious power struggles in twelfth-century France, it follows the adventures of a sixteen-year-old young noblewoman trained as a troubadour, who fakes her own death to flee an abusive home. Adopting the “stage name” Estela de Matin, she ends up by the roadside in a muddy servant’s dress, carrying only her instrument and accompanied by a large white dog, just as Aliénor (Eleanor), Duchess of Aquitaine and Queen of France, happens to ride by. Hearing Estela sing, the Queen invites Estela to join her retinue and continue her training as a troubadour, beginning an action-packed adventure of mystery, betrayal, political intrigue, murder, jealousy, and romance. If you like historical fiction with a full cast of characters who don’t always turn out to be what they seem, who have hidden agendas, and show no hesitation at deception, murder, or torture to get their rivals out of their way, you’ll like Song at Dawn. Gill writes in an engaging style that moves along at a good pace and keeps you on the edge of your seat. I found Estela a sympathetic character, intelligent, talented, and courageous; though I could have done without a particular visit to the stable. That said, I found myself eager to read the next books in the series, to see what happens in the years ahead to Estela and to those who have become important in her life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow, a good tale with accurate historical facts! Very rare and right up there with Dorothy Dunnett, Sharon Kay Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I realize the time period but I just can't get into a 16 yr old being married to a much older guy. (I'm sure it happened a lot though). and the story just wasn't that interesting to me. too much women gossiping, conniving and plotting against each other.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting story, but bogged down with the minute historical details that really weren't necessary for the storty.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So interesting, it was hard to put down
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CourtneeyLin More than 1 year ago
Song at Dawn is historical fiction at it’s absolute finest. You will immediately be entranced and in love with everything about this book. Setting the scene in 12th Century France, Jean Gill paints an incredible picture of life at the time. It’s the perfect pairing of history, romance and mystery. To describe this novel in a word: Masterful. Dragonetz los Pros is Commander of the Guard to Queen Alienor of Aquitaine. In addition to acquiring this noble status of Knight at such a young age, Dragonetz is also the finest troubadour of the time; making music and creating lyric that have only cemented his fame and reputation. His sharpened good looks, charm, creative talent and heart of a warrior draw women to him like moths to a flame; women he was often quick to welcome with open arms. This all changed, however, the day he stumbled upon a beautiful young lady standing alone on the side of the road; And so entered the one woman that Dragonetz wanted to keep at a distance. Estela de Matin is a young girl with nothing but question marks where her past is supposed to be. When Alienor and her Court find her on the side of the road, she is even reluctant to give away her true name. Dragonetz and Alienor are prepared to kill the girl and continue on their journey until they uncover Estela’s incredible gift; her voice. Estela’s angelic voice earned her an invitation to join the Court as they traveled to the kingdom of Narbonne. Neither Dragonetz nor Estela is quick to trust, let alone form any sort of attachment to people, but it doesn’t take long for a bond between them to flourish. Their relationship blossoms naturally and feels very realistic to the reader. Jean Gill writes with an authenticity that leads you to forget that the people and events described are fictional. It’s pure magic. Song at Dawn is a romantic, brilliant, and compelling game of literary chess; a stunning network of moves and counter-moves weaved into every chapter. The plot and characters are wonderfully complex and alluring. Jean Gill is a marvelous writer and it would be a crime against humanity not to recommend her work to everyone I meet. Rest assured that I will absolutely be reviewing Book 2 in the series (Bladesong). For additional reviews please visit
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazingly timely as religious wars continue in our world. I wonder if the current, information explosion, of cell phone technology, will affect the ability of nefarious leaders to incite prejudice much as the availability of books and paper did. May be read and enjoyed for the story and prose,alone. But I shall reread for the currancy.