Finishing Child of the Phoenix meant that I have now read all of Barbara Erskine's novels (even if I was too chicken to finish Hiding from the Light). If you track her literary style during her career as a published author, there are definant similarities between all her novels. She writes about head-strong women and their interactions with the paranormal. Many of these books are ghost stories of sorts.
However, Child of the Phoenix is different in that it is the only one of Barbara Erskine's novels that is only set in one time period. It's a historical saga with that distinct Erskine flavour that makes it so special.
This book tracks Eleyne through the course of her life and as a modern woman, it served as a reminder of the adversity my own decendants have faced to achieve female equality. The things that Eleyne endures in her marriages are just horrific and she does fight back sometimes but the reality is that if she fought against every wrong committed against her, her life would've known no moments of peace. Whilst she is a forward-thinking, spirited woman for her time, she does pick her battles wisely. Which means that some of the characters get away with doing things to her that they would be jailed for today. Eleyne knew happiness but she by no means had a happy life.
This book really is such an epic. So if you're going to read it, devote a good two weeks to immersing yourself in the pages. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who likes Sharon Kay Pennman.