Friday, October 9, 2015
New Review: Jayne Castel’s THE BREAKING DAWN – Romance in Anglo-Saxon England of the 7th century
First in the Kingdom of Mercia series, set in England in 641 A.D, this is the story of Merwenna, a village girl in Mercia whose love goes off to war with King Penda. Not knowing of his fate, she and her brother follow him to the King’s tower where she meets the Welsh Prince Cynddylan (“Dylan”) who leads his warriors in battle with Mercia to fight Northumbria.
Dylan forms an alliance with the ruthless King Penda of Mercia but Penda would have Dylan dead. After Merwenna learns her love was killed, she leaves for her home in Mercia and Dylan graciously offers his escort (since her brother left earlier). Dylan is attracted to the village girl and she to him, and when events bring her to his court in Wales, it seems their destiny to be together.
A well-written story that will hold your interest and take you to Anglo-Saxon England and Wales. Castel has obviously done significant research to place her story in real history of the time. I really enjoyed being immersed in the 7th century. But I had to wonder about Merwenna’s judgment at becoming the mistress of Dylan, knowing he would have to marry a woman of the nobility, but she seemed unconcerned. Likewise, Dylan meant to have her no matter the shame he brought her and, given the ending, apparently cared little for his royal obligations. Ah, but it’s romance.