Clad in Armour of Radiant White is an engaging – and often humorous – novel about the joys and sorrows of growing up in a Lancashire town in the nineteen-sixties.
It is September 1959 and two significant things happen to eleven year old Ellen McCann; she goes to the Convent school in the neighbouring town of Turneley where she meets Erica Latimer, and, back at home, she falls in love with Michael Chadwell.
During the months and years that follow, her school life and her home life continue along parallel tracks. Her friendship with Erica develops and intensifies, and she gets drawn into a series of Latimer family intrigues and revelations which – ultimately and unexpectedly – lead to tragedy. Meanwhile, her childhood love for Michael Chadwell appears to have run its course. Or has it?
She leaves for university in September 1966, looking forward to the opportunities that lie ahead – but still grieving over the losses she has incurred along the way.
‘A perceptive and well-expressed portrait of particular people . . . at a particular time.’
Rosaline Riley does ‘a superb job of presenting characters on the page’.
The Awesome Indies Seal of Excellence for Outstanding Independent Literature has been awarded to Clad in Armour of Radiant White by Rosaline Riley.
Set in England in the 1960s, this fictional piece about the life of a young, catholic girl is very intriguing. Throughout the novel, the author jumps to different periods in the young girl’s life, titling each chapter the month and the year. We get to watch our main character, Ellen, grow up and go through the trials and tribulations of becoming an adult. As a whole, the piece is very well written. It’s grounded both in time and place, so well that those of us who didn’t grow up in the 60s in England can gain a very strong sense of it. We get a feel for how society worked then, what prejudices people held, and how some things we wouldn’t even think twice about now were major topics back then. I personally enjoyed the scene where Ellen and Erica went to see the Beatles. It was just a lovely scene, and exactly how it seems from old video clips.
Being raised catholic myself, the aspect of faith throughout the novel appealed to me, and was handled very well. We see the ideas and beliefs we are given as children, and how the change and develop as the main character goes through her life. Ellen, as our main character, is very well developed. This book doesn’t have a standard plot arc, like most fantasy or action fiction books would, but it does have subtle growth and change. When I arrived at the end of the book, I was pleased to see that the girl we began reading about had developed into a completely different woman.
The author navigates love and relationships in such a skilled way throughout this novel. We get looks into first loves, marriages, extra marital affairs, same sex couples, and many other forms of relationships. We can see them through the eyes of Ellen at her different ages, and the comments of her friends and family. I was touched when Ellen finally was able to express her love to the boy she always loved.
All in all, Clad in Armour of Radiant White is a great piece of life-like fiction, with stunning detail and well developed characters, and I would highly recommend it. 5 Stars.