Colmar, 1353 CE
Gritta, Appel, and Efi managed to survive the Black Death, only to find that they are in desperate need of money. With limited options and lots of obstacles, they band together to become alewives – brewing and selling ale in the free Alsatian town of Colmar. But when an elderly neighbor is discovered dead in her house, the alewives cannot convince the sheriff and the town council that her death wasn’t an accident, it was murder. As the body count piles up, the ale flows and mystery is afoot!
Set in the tumultuous years after the most devastating pandemic the world has ever experienced, The Alewives is a playful romp through a dark time, when society was reeling from loss and a grieving population attempted to return to normal, proving that with the bonds of love, friendship, and humor, the human spirit will always continue to shine.
Gritta, Appel and Efi are in desperate need of money. With limited options and a town reeling in the aftermath of the Black Death, they soon work together to brew their own ale.
However, when women in the area start getting murdered, are the three friends safe? Who can they trust?
The premise for this novel intrigued me so I was excited to be invited onto the audiobook blog tour for The Alewives.
This book is based on an element of history I’m not really familiar with beyond knowing about the Black Death. It has certainly piqued my interest in learning more about the Alewives and their place in history.
The story itself is based around Gritta, Appel and Efi.
Gritta is a strong woman who very much fights against her position in society. She’s a wife and mother and despite her protestations, I got the impression that she’s fiercely loyal to her family and friends, as is Appel.
Efi is the young girl that Gritta and Appel take under their wing and I loved the friendship that developed between them as the novel progressed.
The supporting cast are also an interesting bunch, especially Friar Wikerus who is certainly ahead of his time in terms of women’s rights.
Themes such as the role of women in those times is explored strongly in this book but there is also a murder mystery to solve. These things meant that I needed to keep reading. I needed to know what was going to happen so it didn’t take me long to get pulled into this story.
There are many humorous moments and lines in this book that had me laughing out loud. Another element I loved were the chapter titles.
Ella Lynch, the narrator for the audiobook is engaging and for me, I found her voice very soothing. She is clear in her delivery. I very much enjoyed listening to this in audiobook form for both the story and Ella’s entertaining narration.
I’m not going to say much more as I hope this is a title you’ll pick up and discover. If you’re a lover of history, and/or love a good murder mystery, this book is perfect. I really recommend the audiobook format and I loved the book. I hope this is not the last we see of the residents of Colmar.
About Elizabeth R. Andersen –
Although she spent many years of her life as a journalist, independent fashion designer, and overworked tech employee, there have always been two consistent loves in Elizabeth R. Andersen’s life: writing and history. She finally decided to put them both together and discovered her true love.
Elizabeth lives in the Seattle area with her young son and energetic husky. On the weekends she usually hikes in the stunning Cascade mountains to hide from people and dream up new plotlines and characters.
Elizabeth is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Alliance of Independent Authors.
The Alewives is book one in The Alewives of Colmar series and was released by Haeddre Press. Click to buy on Audible, Spotify, Chirp, Kobo, Google Play, Libro.fm, Nook/Barnes & Noble, Binge Books and StoryTel.
About Ella Lynch (Narrator) –
I am an empathetic, married mum of 1, a member of the LGBTQIA+ community and a mental health advocate. My lived experiences inform my art, helping me deeply connect with the intentions behind words and relay them intuitively to the listener.
I gained a triple distinction in my (BTEC) National Diploma in Performing Arts from Truro College, and have been working as a professional audiobook narrator since 2018. In this time I have narrated over100 audiobooks, voiced numerous healthcare explainer videos for the NHS, provided VO for children’s animated audiobooks and even dubbed a Russian commercial!
I have a particular passion and flair for Magical Realism, Literary Fiction and LGBTQIA+ Romance and Comedy, and as a voracious reader myself I absolutely thrive on bringing all words, across multiple genres, to life for listeners.
When I’m not in my booth you will likely find me walking my dog on the beach, paddleboarding an estuary, exploring the UK in my self-built campervan, playing boardgames and cooking up delicious plant-based feasts for my family. A vegan of over 20 years, I love crochet, painting, fires, swimming and hoola-hooping as well as meditating, practicing Reiki and EFT tapping and deep, heart-felt connection.
Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.