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Archive for the ‘Medieval’ Category

Copyright: 2003

Pages: 480 (paperback edition)

Setting/Type: Medieval (England, Outremer)/Straight Romance

Grade: C-

Well, this was my first Chadwick, and to be perfectly honest, I was rather disappointed in the book. But let’s start with the easy part, the blurb *g*

In the aftermath of tragedy and scandal, Sabin FitzSimon, illegitimate son of a Norman earl, leaves England for the Holy Land in search of a new beginning. At first it seems impossible as the demons from his past life return to haunt him. There is more scandal and banishment, and Sabin finds his back to the wall. In the heat and dust, magnificence and danger of Northern Syria, he must either face himself, or be vanquished. Annais, daughter of Edmund Strongfist is a quiet, convent-raised young woman when she accompanies her father to their new life in the Holy Land. Her encounters with Sabin FitzSimon leave her bewildered, desirous, and more than a little hostile. Bravely facing up to heartache, an arranged marriage, war and death, she falls deeply in love with the country and its people. But it will take more than love to secure what she holds dear, including Sabin FitzSimon. It will take courage, endurance and raw determination to succeed…

Medievals are not my preferred genre but Chadwick excels at bringing this dirty and harsh time alive, giving it congeniality and flair and thereby transforming it into a period I could relate to. The historical background appears painstakingly researched and the slow pace and growth of the story gave me time to become acquainted with the characters and a rather unknown historical setting.

Unfortunately, in my case, I never really connected with Sabin and Annais.

Annais has all the right attributes. Not being TSTL and in possession of a brain combined with a loving heart, she should be every reader’s wish come true. But as much as I tried, she never became real to me and stayed spherical until the last page. I would have wished for more insight into her thoughts and dreams, for a wee bit less of “correctness” and some wild and improper traits. Sabin possessed a more three-dimensional nature, but he, too, never really touched my heart. Like Annais, he wasn’t allowed much reflection and space to grow, albeit he became definitely more mature and thereby lost some of his youthful willfulness.

A wee bit more focus on the inner development of Sabin and Annais would have improved the story for me , but to be fair, the historical richness and captivating descriptions of a far ago England and Jerusalem (Outremer) made up for those shortcomings.  

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