Æthelflæd, or Flæd for short, is the oldest daugter and child of King Alfred. Her life suddenly changes, when she turns fifteen, with her father’s announcement of her engagement to her father’s friend in a neighboring country. Suddenly, she has to be constantly guarded by a man named Red, who would become her teacher as well, and she has to become even more like a gentlewomen. Flæd struggles with the changes that is brought with the engagement and the new guard. She soon learns much about the twist of turns of life with the learning of new skills and the attacks of others.
The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle is a historical fiction story based on Æthelflæd of Mercia who is considered the most famous women in English military history. The author tried to tell what she believe would be the life Æthelflæd when she was younger. Also there are references to the famous story, Beowulf.
Flæd is an inspiring character to me. Even as a girl in the late 800s, Flæd does her best to give her opinion and view on what is happening to her. She thinks out of the box and learns quickly. She has fears but acknowledges them and tries to overcome them. She changes from a girl to a women through the book.
This is a book I would recommend for older readers. There is fighting and the death of characters in the story, which might be unsuited for a younger reader. It is a great example of a girl coming to the part of her life that she has to grow up and be able to do things and think for herself. It also provides action and a bit of history for those who love that. Of course this is only what I think. Read it for yourself and find out!
– Sarah J., 8th grade