Saturday, October 21, 2023

Nadine Crenshaw’s SPELLBOUND – A Great Medieval from a Great Author… a Keeper!

Crenshaw weaves a story that will keep you reading late into the night. She is a master storyteller and takes care with historical detail and descriptions of places. This story is set in 12th century England during Henry II’s reign. He was married to the famous Eleanor of Aquitaine and both are featured characters in the story at the time when Henry was still a young king.


Norah of Ramsay, a girl of 15, has been betrothed to the neighboring lord, Jervais Le Strand, Earl of Conniebrook, since she was a young child though she has never met him. Jervais has become a knight and a friend of King Henry. Somewhere in his battles in the Holy Land, he fell in love with Eleanor when she was married to the King of France. Though their relationship could never be consummated, Jervais harbors love for Eleanor in his heart. All other women are just bedmates to him.


When she is 15, Norah's dying father decides to give her to the church as penance. So Norah ends up in a cloister that is more like a prison. Her only dream had been to marry Jervais and she hates the cloistered life. Norah is special, one of those people uniquely gifted with extra sensory powers. She sees visions of things to come, shadows of the future. On the day she is to take her vows, her 16th birthday, she plans to escape over the wall having seen it in a vision. Meanwhile, Jervais wants her lands and is angry that her father would thwart his plans to use the Ramsey wealth to fortify his castle. So, he breaks into the convent to steal his bride and captures her as she is running away. When she realizes who it is, she gladly marries him and soon falls in love with the handsome knight. But he sees her only as a mission accomplished; he doesn't even remember her eye color.


When his squire tells Norah that Jervais is in love with another, very beautiful woman, Norah (who sees herself as plain) flees. Then the story gets even more interesting. With the help of a witch, Norah takes on another life, a disguise--one of amazing beauty.

I highly recommend this one. I think Nadine Crenshaw was one of the early great romance authors and deserves to be on your keeper shelf.


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