We’re really excited about Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes for your book club, so we’ve set aside dedicated space to tell you about the book.
Book clubs will love this story of redemption and hope
Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes
Sinful Folk is the new historical novel from Ned Hayes, with cover and internal illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator and author Nikki McClure. Like Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent and Geraldine Brooks’ Year of Wonders, Sinful Folk retells history from the perspective of a forgotten woman who finds her voice. An inspiring story of tenacity, perseverance and courage, Sinful Folk is based on real historical events.
In December of the year 1377, five children burned to death in a suspicious house fire. The historical record shows that a small band of villagers traveled 200 miles across England in midwinter to demand justice for their children’s deaths. Two hundred miles. In that time, an unimaginable distance for villagers who lived their entire lives only a few miles from their birthplace.
Sinful Folk is the story of this treacherous journey as seen by Mear, a former nun who has lived for a decade disguised as a mute and fearful man, raising her son quietly in this isolated village. When her son is killed, Mear wakes from her complacent life and undertakes a desperate journey.
Endorsed by bestselling historical novelists such as Karen Maitland (The Owl Killers, Company of Liars), Ella March Chase (The Virgin Queen’s Daughter), Brenda Vantrease (The Illuminator, The Heretic’s Wife), and William Dietrich (The Barbed Crown), Sinful Folk is a breakthrough novel that stakes a new claim for women’s historical fiction.
Sinful Folk is an inspiring story of a woman’s perseverance and courage in a stark medieval world: a riveting and suspenseful story told with lyrical beauty and unwavering vision. “A pilgrim story worthy of Chaucer, delivered by a master storyteller” — New York Times bestselling historical novelist Brenda Vantrease.
What readers like you are saying:
…this is one awesome historical fiction book. –Sandy at You’ve GOTTA Read This!
Mear is one of the best historical fiction characters I have come across….Ned Hayes has definitely woven a gripping tale that will keep you intrigued the whole way through. –Stephanie at 100 Pages a Day…Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Ned Hayes’s latest is superb, guys! I mean really superb! There are so many things I want to note but I’m trying very hard to restrain myself because I think I’d prefer to leave some of the surprises for other potential readers to discover on their own….Sinful Folk has elements of mystery and suspense and an obvious careful attention to historical accuracy. Hayes sets the tone nicely and Mear does all the rest! Historical fiction fans take note, this is definitely one not to miss! –Heather at No More Grumpy Bookseller
Despite the dark premise, the novel reads quickly, with many exciting interludes, and I found myself racing through the story. Nikki McClure, the illustrator who did the cover design, provides small illustrated elements that open every few chapters, and they’re striking and interesting. — Audra at Unabridged Chick
Mear is a beautiful soul and one whose story I won’t soon forget. I felt such a intense connection to her in her strength of character and ability to forgive and forge on in her life. Hers is a story of overcoming adversity made even more admirable by the times in which she lived….Highly recommended! –Dar at Peeking Between the Pages
A page turner transporting the reader to an age where existing was a minute to minute task. Highly recommend Sinful Folk. Hayes is an author worthy of praise and your undivided attention. –Mal at Nightly Reading
I loved this story. The characters drew me in, and the author has such a talent for putting emotion into visual pictures, to give them real substance….It is a clever, interesting and touching story inspired by history, and the paranoia and persecution that surrounded those of the Jewish faith….This story is all about facing your past. Restrained and yet absorbing, this story may be dark and barren, but it isn’t bereft of hope. –Heather at Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
More praise for Sinful Folk
*Starred Review* “Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed, Hayes’ novel is woven through with a deep knowledge of medieval history, all conveyed in mesmerizing prose. At the center of the novel is Mear, a brave and heartbreaking character whose story of triumph over adversity is a joy to read. — BookList Print Review – Joanne Wilkinson
“Riveting, poetic… a rich medieval tapestry of a story… relentless, intriguing, very authentic… with bittersweet redemption at the end of the journey. Medieval fans should like this.” -Historical Novel Reviews, Print Review: HNR #68, May 2014
“An exquisitely written historical thriller… Told by a brave and charismatic narrator who will twist your heart-strings with her story from the first page to final startling revelation. An amazing novel based on a truly fascinating, unsolved mystery of the Middle Ages.” -Karen Maitland, best-selling author of The Owl Killers and Company of Liars
“A pilgrim tale worthy of Chaucer, evocative, compelling and peopled with unforgettable characters artfully delivered by a master storyteller.” – Brenda Rickman Vantrease, best-selling author of The Illuminator and The Mercy Seller
“Brilliant, insightful, unflinching and wise. This spellbinding mystery will keep readers turning pages until the last sentence. Remarkable.” – Ella March Chase, best-selling author of The Virgin Queen’s Daughter and Three Maids for a Crown
Resources for Book Clubs
- Discussion Questions
- Books that Inspired Sinful Folk
- Other Books Similar to Sinful Folk
- Video Interview with Ned Hayes (via BookNote)
- Video Interview with Nikki McClure
About Ned Hayes
Ned Hayes first read Chaucer in graduate school, where he worked under noted medieval scholar Richard Emmerson. He has studied at Stanford University, Western Washington University, the Rainier Writing Workshop and the Graduate Theological Union at the University of California, Berkeley. He lives in Olympia, Washington, with his wife and two children. Sinful Folk is his first story set in the medieval era. He is now at work on a new novel set in the 1300s.
Find out more about Ned at his website, follow him on Twitter, and see what he’s pinning on Pinterest. You can also read more about the book at its website, follow news of the book on Facebook, get quotes from the book on Pinterest.
Please fill out our super short registration form (<—click here) by September 30th for a chance to win a set of up to ten copies of Sinful Folk by Ned Hayes for your book club! We will randomly choose one winner at the end of the month. This contest is open to clubs in the US only (our apologies to friends in other countries).