Sunday, October 7, 2012

New Review: Denise Domning’s WINTER’S HEAT – Classic Medieval Romance

Doming said she got the idea for this novel in a dream and then spent 12 years researching the medieval time period in which to set it and the novels that followed. It is the first in the Graistan Chronicles (see list below). I really enjoyed it and think she captured the time, though there is a bit less history than in some romance novels of the period.

It takes place in 1194, during the latter part of the reign of King Richard I. It tells the story of Rowena of Benfield, who at 21, was taken by her father from the abbey where she’d planned to spend her life to be wed to Rannulf FitzHenry, the powerful Lord of Graistan. Rannulf is a man with emotional baggage from a past betrayal and Rowena wants but does not expect his love. She is a masterful chatelaine and does his estate proud. While all come to love her, Rannulf treats her with disdain, holding himself back, presumably for fear of being betrayed once again.

I loved Rowena’s strength and feisty attitude; but Rannulf was at times too mean. Yes, it was an arranged marriage and Rowena was determined to make it work, but how many times can you be publically cut by your husband and not want to leave him? When he finally came around, it was a dramatic change and I was still harboring bitter thoughts about him from his earlier actions toward his wife. (How we do get into these stories!) But this is romance so it all comes right in the end.

The story is interesting, the plot held my interest, and I can recommend it. I intend to read the others in the series. But for those of you history lovers, you may want to consider others I’ve recommended on my Best Medieval Romances list if you like deep history with your love stories.

The Graistan Chronicles, the stories of the FitzHenry's:

WINTER’S HEAT (Rannulf and Rowena)
SUMMER’S STORM (Temric and Philippa)
SPRING’S FURY (Gilliam and Nicola)
AUTUMN’S FLAME (Geoffrey and Elyssa)
A LOVE FOR ALL SEASONS (Robert and Johanna)


  1. Wow, 12 years of research! And I thought I spent a lot of time researching my medievals, lol. The story sounds wonderful.

    Nice review, Regan.

    1. Jannine,
      I just read another one, the review for which will post this week (Sandra Worth's Rose of York trilogy) where she spent 10 years researching. I guess it depends on how deep you want to go into the subject and how much history is included.