Five Rivers Recommends: Good Books & Warm Drinks Part II

Another weekend is approaching and we’re here to equip you with quality R&R tools. Your favourite blanket is a staple, and for your adventure this weekend, we recommend a trip to 13th Century Gwynedd courtesy of Marie Powell’s Hawk.

Hawk will let you experience the tumultuous time in medieval Wales from the perspective of two Welsh youths. This book is rich in Welsh culture, tradition, history and myth. Join Hyw and Cat as they live through the last days of Llywelym ap Gruffudd, also known as Llywelyn the Last, or in Welsh Llwelyn Ein Llyw Olaf “Llywelyn, Our Last Leader”, and aid the Prince in the resistance against Edward I (think Braveheart’s Hammer of the Scots). Both children have a special ‘gift’ that would help them in their legendary quest!

Hawk delivers you to a historical past full of historical personages and events and with a bit of magic thrown in you’re sure in for a treat.

Speaking of treats, may we suggest you pair this adventure with a richer, more indulgent version of the classic hot cocoa, even though the use of cocoa wasn’t in use in 13th century Wales. Similar to Hawk’s rich roots this drink uses rich hot chocolate and the rich dollop of salted caramel is nothing short of magic. Recipe is by the aptly named Sugarhero.

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Picture from Sugarhero


1½ cups granulated sugar
¼ tsp fresh lemon juice
4½ cups room temperature milk (I used 1%—any fat percentage you enjoy drinking should work)
8 oz milk chocolate, finely chopped
2 oz dark chocolate, finely chopped
Big pinch salt
Whipped cream and caramel sauce, to garnish (optional)


  1. In a small bowl, rub together the sugar and the lemon juice, until the sugar is damp and fragrant.
  2. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and let it preheat for several minutes until the pan is hot. Once the saucepan is hot, add the sugar. Begin stirring immediately and continuously. Because the pan was preheated, the sugar will start cooking very quickly. Soon after it liquefies it will start to take on color. Cook, stirring constantly, until it is a medium amber color.
  3. Continue to stir while you stream in the milk. The caramel may seize and form small chunks of sugar, but continue to stir and heat the mixture, and by the time the milk is piping hot, the caramel will have melted and you will have a smooth liquid.
  4. Once the milk is at a simmer (small bubbles forming along the sides of the pan) remove the pan from the heat. Don’t let the milk come to a boil! Add the chopped chocolates to the pan and whisk until the mixture is smooth and the chocolate is melted. Add a pinch of salt, taste the milk, and add more salt if desired.
  5. Serve Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate with whipped cream and caramel sauce. It can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator for up to a week. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove top.

This book is recommended for young readers, but a more mature crowd can surely appreciate this historical fiction as well! The salted caramel hot chocolate can also be amped up with a bit of tequila for the more mature taste buds, or so we hear.

Pick up your copy of Hawk and enjoy! Copies of Hawk is available in print and as an eBook. You can purchase Hawk at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Indigo, Kobo, IndieBound.

Check out Marie’s blog for more insights about Hawk and Welsh history and tradition. You are always welcome in our comment box to tell us about your adventures, your questions and your recommendations.