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Can you believe it, people have started tagging this novel as medieval when it states it is a 17th century setting. I couldn't believe readers are that ignorant of history. So I'm wondering if I need to replace the cover. Out of the two, the colourful one depicting fashions of the era, which is best?
I adored this from start to finish and the hero wowed me. At the very beginning of the book his self-restraint is admirable in the face of blatant temptation by the heroine. As time passes the hero matures to a man of iron will and self-determination. Always he has a kindly heart toward old friends including those who are enemy soldiers. I loved the heroine too. She's spirited and wilful and makes grave mistake along life's path. Her heart throughout belongs to the hero and try as she might to hides her true feelings he's no fool. It is story of war and of people torn asunder by divided loyalties and when a major death occurs as a result of battle, sadly the heroine is unable to cast aside lightly a terrible burden of guilt. The hero takes the brunt of her anger and cannot convince her of his innocence in the death of his father, for with death comes entitlement to lordly rights and estate lands and he is the enemy. It does end happily with a very touching final scene.
Although this book spans five years it never lagged on pace. Historical fact is masterfully blended with fiction. It kept me turning the pages and not one page did I skip. It's epic without being heavy on page count. It's one of a series that can stand alone. I loved it and look forward to book 2.
This has to be the crème de la crème from Ms Howarth's stable of historical novels. I was first introduced to a Francine Howarth novel by way of a Tweet on Twitter to do with a book about a Favoured Captain. Ever since reading that first novella I have come to trust this author for fast-paced historical bodice-rippers of the old school though a little more spicy. This one in particular stunned me. Ms Howarth's historical accuracy never fails. Her plots seem so plausible it's easy to think of her stories as true-life not fiction. This novel pulled me in from page one. I truly felt as though transported back through time to a meadow at Axebury Hall, and from there the story unfolds. In the very beginning Anna is a proud and precocious titled young lady, whose heart belongs to one young man. His rejection - not once but twice - shatters her dreams. Heartbroken she becomes torn by many things and differing people, and as Civil War tears households and families apart she sets out to become betrothed to a man she trusts, a man twice her age. It is her preference. Wedlock to a young Cavalier rake sickens her. However, further heartbreak occurs when war suddenly comes to the gates at Axebury Hall. In the aftermath of death comes emotional turmoil, regrets and a love once desired is hers if only she will say yes. Unfortunately Anna cannot forgive herself nor the man she loves for the death of her betrothed, but how long will the new Lord wait for her before seeking a wife elsewhere? Not wishing to spoil the story for others I shall say there are twists and turns aplenty. There are royal persons of the time who step centre page. There are emotional highs and lows and risqué love scenes. But most of all this is a love story to match the Thornbirds and Gone With the Wind. The best thing there are sequels to come.
If only a few more people would buy this book it might get noticed on Amazon. I much preferred writing this because it's outside the Georgian/Regency era, but the latter it seems are still in vogue. One would think readers are tired of Empire line dresses and girls suffering emotional issues along with stiff-collared gentlemen who seem reluctant to wed and make life hell for everyone inclusive a revengeful mistress. What's the betting I get a sh*t review now.
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