Sunday, April 3, 2016
New Review: Jennifer Horsman’s A KISS IN THE NIGHT – Complex, well-told tale from a legend of 16th century France
If you haven’t discovered Jennifer Horsman, I highly recommend her stories. She is one of my all time favorite historical romance authors because of her complex plots, detailed storytelling and emotion in her characters. She does not disappoint with this one. According to the author’s note, it’s based on a true story…or a legend surrounding one…from a 16th century French theologian and a collection of letters concerning the last woman condemned to die at the stake on the charge of witchery who was saved by a young French nobleman. It is very well done…intriguing to the very end.
Set in France in 1513 (and 1519), this tells the story of 15-year-old Linness of Sauvage, a poor girl but raised in a convent when her second “sight” was discovered and then at 15 condemned as a witch. A gallant young knight, Paxton Gaillard Chamberlain, saves her from the stake. In a moment of self-indulgent battle lust, Paxton robs Linness of her virginity and leaves her naked in the forest (with a ring to remember him by) and words that he would return—words she does not hear. In a bizarre coincidence, she comes across the dead bodies of Lady Belinda (the betrothed of Paxton’s older twin brother) and her guards who were attacked by bandits. Encouraged by one of the dying guards to assume the identity of the Lady Belinda, who he tells Linness the brother, Morgan, has never seen, Linness dresses in the dead girl’s clothes and takes her identity, unaware that the knight, Paxton, who made love to her is Morgan’s estranged younger brother. (Are you still with me?)
Well researched, it brings to life France in the early 1500s when King Francis brought peace to the country. Horsman describes well the wine industry at the time, the architecture, culture, dress and food. The characters are well developed and the plot complex. Horsman’s writing style is a bit unique in that she frequently changes points of view. I quickly got used to it and even enjoyed the seamless head hopping. I highly recommend it.
Buy on Amazon.