Sunday, December 8, 2013
Wonderful Medieval Love Story with Masonry and Pottery Making Superbly Incorporated
It is the story of a freemason, Rhys, who longs to create beautiful cathedrals and buildings but is forced to appear to act the spy for Mortimer, all the while feeding information to his friends who are loyal to the young king. Rhys encounters the lovely Joan in the marketplace where she is selling her beautifully crafted clay figurines and encourages her to value them at a higher price. Later he saves her from the town stocks where she is has been punished for another’s wrong. He cares for her bruised body and finds he is very attracted to the girl. When he learns she is an indentured servant, he buys her freedom and brings her to his home. Though he would have her as his leman, she holds him at bay never revealing her identity (which is only hinted at)—a highborn lady who was robbed of her family and her birthright by a dastardly knight affiliated with Mortimer.
This is a well-crafted tale, with some insightful reflections on life and love (an example is Rhys’s reflection on his life before Joan: “A man who has nothing worth fighting for is not really alive.”). Rhys is a noble hero who seeks to do the right thing. He cannot understand Joan and her fears until he discovers her past and the sacrifice she made to save her younger brother.
Hunter’s depiction of the crafts of stone masonry and pottery is nothing short of brilliant. She not only conveys interesting information on the craft, but also the emotion and the feelings of the artist as that person looks not only at their art, but at the world. It is truly beautiful. As with the others in the series, Hunter has an authentic medieval voice, so hard to achieve, and tells the story very well.
A wonderful, well-researched historical romance from medieval England with superbly written love scenes—I recommend it!
If you like to read things in date order, as I do, here is the medieval historical series (two trilogies) in chronological order:
BY POSSESSION (1326)
BY DESIGN (1328)
STEALING HEAVEN (1341)
BY ARRANGEMENT (1346)
THE PROTECTOR (1348-49)
LORD OF A THOUSAND NIGHTS (1350’s)
The hero and heroine in BY POSSESSION appear in BY DESIGN; and the two trilogies are linked by the character David de Abyndon, who is a secondary character in STEALING HEAVEN and the hero in BY ARRANGEMENT.