Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Elizabethan Mystics

Sierra writes:

I am looking for a book I read when I was a teenager, it was written in the late 80s or early 90s. I do not remember the title or author, although I think the title has something like guardian in it. It was set in the Elizabethan time period. A lady in waiting of Elizabeth’s is sent away to a guard outpost where she meets a boy and they have adventures with a mystical secret society. Some vague tid-bits that I can remember are: the secret society kidnaps the boy and in the end she rescues him when they are trying to sacrifice him in a ritual. There is a well that pilgrims throw gifts down and ask for miracles and the mystical people sometimes grant them, and she has a sister that there is some sort of animosity between them. Could you smart bitches help me find this lost gem that I have long wished to find again?

“Elizabethan mystics throw crap down wells” does not yield much via Google, alas.

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  1. 1
    Amy says:

    That has to be The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. 
    That and the Sherwood Ring were (and remain) two of my favorite young adult books.

  2. 2
    Polly says:

    Yup, sounds like the Perilous Gard to me too. I loooved it when I read it (long ago).

  3. 3
    Sarah W says:

    Totally the perilous gaurd, which I LOVE. It is still an awesome book—I re-read it a couple years ago. It is a kids/teen book, and is very good at mixing the history bits with the fantasy.

  4. 4
    Tina C. says:

    I have to say that you all impress the hell out of me.  I swear, the barest of bare-boned synopsis never fails to elicit nearly immediate response.  I am in awe.

  5. 5
    BadgerChaser says:

    The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope, my all-time favorite book

  6. 6
    Rebecca says:

    For once, I know one, and everyone beats me to it.  But for all those who love The Perilous Gard, Elizabeth Marie Pope published one other novel, called The Sherwood Ring, which is also awesomely good, although quite different. 

    And FYI, The Perilous Gard was first published in 1974, and The Sherwood Ring in 1958.  They don’t date.  They’re that good.

  7. 7
    Karen says:

    Oh I love The Sherwood Ring! I re-read it recently and it was just as good as I remembered. I’ll have to look up The Perilous Gard.

  8. 8
    Jane Drew says:

    *sigh* Ah, “Perilous Gard”…. fantastic, fantastic book, and full of fantastically quotable lines. I also second the recommendations for “The Sherwood Ring”—Revolutionary War-era ghosts telling their stories to the present-day heroine, while she tries to figure out some problems of her own (although nothing gets thrown down any wells, that I recall). 

    I wish, I wish that Elizabeth Marie Pope had written more—she did such an amazing job blending history and excellent plots and great characterizations and wonderful relationships. Sort of reminds me of my favorite Heyer books—or, well, when I read Heyer, she reminded me of Pope.

    Told28: I’ve told my roommate at least 28 times that she needs to finish “The Sherwood Ring,” and yet she never does (in spite of my, err, slightly rabid, “BUT YOU STOPPED AT THE SNOWSTORM! HOW CAN YOU STOP AT THE SNOWSTORM?” *ahem*)

  9. 9
    Elizabeth says:

    Damn!  I knew this one, and everyone else got here first.  It’s not a secret society, though; it’s faeries.

    I can only agree that Pope’s books were two of my absolute favorites, growing up.  I should really reread them.

    I’ve told my roommate at least 28 times that she needs to finish “The Sherwood Ring,” and yet she never does (in spite of my, err, slightly rabid, “BUT YOU STOPPED AT THE SNOWSTORM! HOW CAN YOU STOP AT THE SNOWSTORM?” *ahem*)

    What!?  But… but… she’s not even to the scene with the cups!  That’s my absolute favorite!

  10. 10

    Another fabulous re-framing of the Tam Lin story is Diana Wynne Jones’ FIRE AND HEMLOCK. Both it and The Perilous Gard are long time favorites, with a YA romantic bent. Ahhh~

    wish62: I wish Pope had written 62 more books!

  11. 11
    JennyME says:

    I love this book!! It’s one of the gateway drugs that got me into romance novels. Thank you for reminding me that I’m due for a re-read.

    I read the Sherwood Ring for the millionth time a few months ago and am eternally grateful that there are a couple of books that *stay awesome* no matter how many times you read them. (Although I do have a tendency to mentally edit out the “little idiot” comments from Pat to Peggy.)

    Love the funky 1950s illustrations in that one, too. I bought it in hardback a couple of years ago, but my original copy (which I read until it was battered and broken) was a paperback with a ridiculous cover—Peaceable had a mustache! Blech!

    Such a shame that Pope didn’t publish more books.

  12. 12
    JaneDrew says:

    I’ve told my roommate at least 28 times that she needs to finish “The Sherwood Ring,” and yet she never does (in spite of my, err, slightly rabid, “BUT YOU STOPPED AT THE SNOWSTORM! HOW CAN YOU STOP AT THE SNOWSTORM?” *ahem*)

    What!?  But… but… she’s not even to the scene with the cups!  That’s my absolute favorite!

    I KNOW!!! And I can’t even tell her about the scene with the cups, because, well, some things are better when they’re a surprise. Hee.

    Love the funky 1950s illustrations in that one, too. I bought it in hardback a couple of years ago, but my original copy (which I read until it was battered and broken) was a paperback with a ridiculous cover—Peaceable had a mustache! Blech!

    JennyME: Oh, yes, I remember that cover. I stuck it into a homemade brown paper bag book cover as soon as I got it home, because… yeah. That moustache was a crime against the story on sooooo many levels. I was thrilled to bits to find hardcover reprints (still with the illustrations, whee) of both books—not only are the dustjackets pretty good, I can take them off if I ever want to.

  13. 13
    Ariana says:

    The Perilous Gard rocks! My former apartmentmate/roommate introduced me to it – she rereads it every Halloween.

  14. 14
    Sierra says:

    Thank you all so much for helping me rediscover one of my teenage favorites.  I have literally been searching, racking my brain, for several years trying to find this book.  I just need a couple of smart bitches to help me out :)

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