Another thoroughly engrossing tale from my favourite author of medieval romance! There has been an air of mystery around both Abbess Mary Sarah (Mercia) and Sir Maël up until now, in large part because their roles have been secondary ones in the previous books in the series, but I’ve always suspected there was more to Abbess Mary Sarah than met the eye, and I was right! She had my sympathy from the first, having grown up knowing she was an illegitimate Godwine and little more than a pawn for her grandmother to move or sacrifice as served her purpose. Neither is Sir Maël’s life his own as captain of the king’s guard—a position he has accepted partly as penance for failing his family at the battle upon Senlac.
In addition to all the things I normally find to love about a Tamara Leigh novel, I loved the contrasts in this story. Although both Mercia and Maël are in positions of authority within their daily sphere of influence (the abbey and the king’s guards), they are at the same time powerless to have any meaningful say in the courses their lives take. They are more restrained emotionally than any of the characters we have journeyed with so far, but that only served to highlight their strength of character, sorely tested as the events of their tale unfold. And, of course, we once again have Saxon against Norman.
Nowhere was contrast more sharply drawn than between the “false” Abbess and the king’s brother Bishop Odo—one showing true inward devotion and reliance upon the Lord despite her lack of vows, the other merely the outward trappings of a life dedicated to a religious institution. And I might add Bishop Odo’s portrayal here completely lines up with what I know of him from history. Just another one of the things I love about Tamara Leigh’s books—the accuracy of her historical setting.
And the romance…well, Tamara Leigh always comes through in that department too, in this case allowing the characters’ feelings to slowly unfurl as they get caught up in the political machinations of those who continue to seek the overthrow of Le Bâtard. The odds are truly against Mercia and Maël getting their happy ever after, and I was enthralled by every step of their journey.
Your appetite will also be well and truly whet for the next story in the series featuring Nicola D’Argent, the reckless! And then there’s that epilogue… So much to look forward to!
- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 2336 KB
- Print Length: 378 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Tamara Leigh (23 April 2020)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B085WKNSNS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 30 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #139,083 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)