Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Review: Brenda Joyce’s PROMISE OF THE ROSE – Medieval Romance at its Best!

This is book 2 of the two medieval stories in the de Warenne Dynasty series (The Conqueror is the first). It is lusty, full of history and angst and will keep you reading pages.

Set in 1093 (with a prologue in 1076), this tells the story of Stephen de Warenne, bastard son and heir of the Earl of Northumberland, and Mary, daughter of Malcolm Canmore, the King of Scotland.

Proud loyal Mary, when taken captive by Stephen, refuses to reveal her identity so Stephen decides to have her. Afterward, learning she is the Scottish Princess, he conceives of the idea of marrying her for political reasons. And he does, while talking peace but planning to attack Scotland on orders from his king, William Rufus. Thus he betrays Mary. But when he discovers her eavesdropping upon his battle plans (she is shocked by what she hears), he calls her traitor. An unforgiving man, he vows to use her like a wife but give her no affection. Clearly, he did not deserve such a wonderful woman.

I loved this heroine, that she would defy the arrogant Norman knight who thought to claim her. And I loved that she was a Scots patriot, more loyal than many men. Initially I also loved the hero who was a man of honor and firm resolve, but his later harsh treatment of his bride made him look the brutal knight.

It’s fast paced, with well developed characters and great history on every page. Very well researched with many historical figures and very well done. It’s Joyce at her best.

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