Friday, February 24, 2012

Penelope Williamson -- Beloved Rogue

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {3.85}
Action: ♠♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣. / Romance: ♥♥♥♥. / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠
Action: 4 / Emotion: 4.5 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 1.5 / Suspense: 4 // Historical Flavor: 4 / Laughter: 4 / Tears: 4½

While enjoyed reading Penelope Williamson's debut book, Beloved Rogue, and would not even put it down when Sparky begged with those beautiful puppy-dog eyes to go for a walk, there was just something about it that made it a 'do not understand where this heroine is coming from' read.

Do you remember that guy in high school that everybody liked and wanted to be around?   The one all the girls were secretly in love with?   The All-American football quarterback.   The class president.   The homecoming king.   The valedictorian.   And he was gorgeous, charismatic and a natural-born leader.   That is the picture Williamson painted when she slowly revealed the layers of Jamie, the eighth Lord of Maxwell.   There seemed to be nothing that Jamie wasn't competently capable of accomplishing.   He was a leader, a warrior, a poet, a musician, an artist, a thinker, a lover, a friend, an adventurer, loyal, honorable, etc.

Alexia is a "Daddy's Girl" down to the tips of her chewed off nails.   She is introduced as having little compassion for the stable boy's dilemma when she wins his best suit of clothing (and almost only suit) in a dice game so she can sneak out of Thirlwall Castle by blending in with her father's men when he leaves to attend a March Meeting.   (A day of truce called between feuding English and Scottish clans in an attempt to settle differences legally.)   The English Sir Thomas Carleton (served ten years as warden for English West March) and Scottish Lord John Maxwell (Scottish warden) were the worst two reivers of the lot.   Alexia just wanted to see one of those hated Maxwell's up close.   Sir Thomas blustered and fussed at Alexia when he discovered her among his men, but it was obvious she would suffer no punishment from a father that adored his tomboy daughter.   (Having no son, Sir Thomas raised Alexia with sword, lance and crossbow in her hands.)

Fourteen year old Alexia Carleton met seventeen year old Jamie Maxwell as the two "boys" ran from the hated Johnstones when she was caught laughing at Sandie Johnstone's misfortune as the boys played football while their fathers were in negotiations.   After an adventurous chase through the market and eluding the hive of Johnstone brothers, Alexia fell in love with Jamie that day when he left her with a parting kiss.

Five years later Sir Thomas, Alexia and her older sister, Evie, were headed to Carlisle Castle, the home of Alexia's betrothed, Seymour Howard (the new English warden).   Williamson inserted a clever surprise before introducing Alexia's betrothed.   It seems Sir Thomas forced a marriage on Alexia three years earlier to merchant, Nicholas Forster, who left the day after his marriage to lead a Russian expedition from which he never returned.   The most surprising revelation was that Alexia left her marriage bed still a virgin because Nicholas fell asleep before consummating his union.

Alexia has resigned herself to marriage to the attractive young man who was one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites when she hears a voice from her past.   Malcolm Maxwell, Jamie's crippled brother, joins the Carletons in Seymour's antechamber.   Seymour captured Malcolm when pursuing a raiding party at Bewcastle Waste and issued a ransom demand to the new Lord of Maxwell, Jamie.

Alexia was not the only member of the kissing party to fall in love five years ago.   When Jamie infiltrated Carlisle Castle to rescue Malcolm, he takes the woman he has wanted for years as well.   For six weeks Jamie holds Alexia as hostage for ransom at Kilchurn Castle (home of his Aunt, Lady Madeleine Campbell, dowager countess of Argyle).   Jamie and Alexia waste minimal time worrying about being long-term enemies before they give in to their mutual desires and become unashamed lovers.   It is no surprise that the many, many love scenes that follow Jamie and Alexia throughout the remainder of the book are not sizzling, and contain very little graphic detail in spite of the passion and emotion because Beloved Rogue was written in 1988.

It is from Auntie Mad that Alexia learns that Jamie can never marry her because the Maxwell Clan will always take first place in his life.   Besides, the current laws forbade marriage between the English and Scots.

Williamson does the most remarkable job of seamlessly weaving into the plot actual historical characters and how unfolding historical events conspire to aid Jamie and Alexia on their path to a happily-ever-after.   When Jamie is arrested by James Stuart, King James VI of Scotland for abducting and raping the Englishwoman, he faces a traitor's death.   While Jamie languishes in the tower at Stirling Castle, Auntie Mad's ambitious son, Colin Campbell, sixth Earl of Argyle, shows his hatred of his cousin by prompting guards to mistreat Jamie before his trial.

Argyle is to be disappointed, though, because Queen Elizabeth prompts King James to force Jamie to marry Alexia -- in an attempt to stop the borderland feuding.   Thus, the 'true to her county and family' Alexia finds herself married and carted off to Caerlaverock Castle in Scotland.   Where the English Carleton / Scots Maxwell feud takes place on a personal level.   The difficulties that arise between the protagonists is best described by Jamie:

". . . their marriage wasn't likely to be an easy one.   She was proud and strong-willed, and he was proud and stubborn; a volatile combination that only love could bind."   (page 357)
And boy do Jamie and Alexia fight and misunderstand one another for many long months to come.   Alexia immediately instills mistrust in Jamie the morning after their marriage by spontaneously spouting out that Caerlaverock is not her home, she is not a Scot, nor a Maxwell.   Williamson further increases the tension and suspense in the book when Argyle and the English ambassador ask Sir Thomas to ask Alexia to spy on the Maxwells.

That one utterance from Alexia created a lack of sympathy towards the heroine of the novel.   She loved Jamie enough to carry on a six-week affair with him.   Is disappointed that they can't marry.   When gets to marry him, after all, takes offense because he was "forced" to marry her and gets all up in arms.   Alexia's hurtful statement causes Jamie to fling back his own 'well if you don't want to be a Maxwell, after you give me my heirs, you can hie yourself back to your beloved father' statement.   Felt more sympathy towards Jamie than Alexia because did not understand her reasoning.

Thankfully, Jamie and Alexia's sharped-tongued stubbornnesses were not the only difficulties they encountered.   The supporting characters in the book were wonderfully written and added much turmoil, intrigue and additional angst to the book.

Really liked Malcolm, even though he was extremely bitter, having suffered his whole life with a deformity of one shoulder being higher than the other, causing him to drag one foot slightly behind the other.   Malcolm espoused a wisdom far beyond his seventeen years.   Loved the way Williamson revealed layer after layer of Malcolm's personality as he grew throughout the story.   (Particularly liked the scene with Alexia where he suggested she run from the marriage and listed the reasons why.)

Really enjoyed the addition of Big Jock Armstrong, a monstrously big, larger-than-life character, who always seemed to be around to tease Jamie (using true Scottish words (had to look up meanings)) whenever Jamie had another roaring fight with Alexia.   Although Big Jock was not richly developed, his presence added greatly to the enjoyment of the book.

Have to jump on the bandwagon with Alexia when it came to Jamie's mother, Lady Annor Maxwell.   She was a harsh, unbending woman, who not only made life difficult for the Englishwoman in her midst, but constantly berated Jamie for being too soft to be laird.   Lady Annor had not one redeeming, likeable trait.   Found it amazing that her sons were as likeable as they were, having such a stringent, unhappy mother around.

Alexia was able to form a bond with the youngest two Maxwell boys, fourteen-year-old Diccon, and six-year-old Andy.   Although they did not take up a lot of space in the story, these two boys were fun, interesting additions to the story -- the most memorable being when Andy and Alexia were throwing snowballs.

Robin Maxwell was his mother's son.   Robin made no secret that he wished he was sitting in the High Seat instead of Jamie.   Williamson did a great job of creating many layers to Robin.   It was easy to automatically dislike Robin because he might be conspiring to kill Jamie.   But it was just as easy to feel compassion for Robin because he had such a harsh mother and was struggling with his position in life.

Alexia felt big and gauche around the tiny "epitome of ideal feminine beauty" that was Elspeth Campbell.   It didn't help matters that sixteen-year-old, rich, politically powerful Elspeth had been promised to Jamie.   Even though Alexia wanted Jamie for herself, she couldn't help but feel guilty for stealing Elspeth's husband-to-be.   Williamson meagerly developed Elspeth's personality, but used her character to add more suspense and emotion to the story when accidents began to befall Alexia.

Another character that played a major role in the story while staying the background was Evelyn "Evie" Carleton, who came to live with Alexia at Caerlaverock.   Alexia promised Evie a home with her because she felt guilty and responsible for Evie's burned, ravaged face (which remained covered with a gauze mask).   Williamson cleverly revealed through tiny tidbits of information dropped throughout the story that Evie had been a vain, selfish child and resented Alexia because she got to marry the most perfect of men.

A surprising addition to the story was Alexia's budding friendship with Katherine, the old Lord Maxwell's mistress, mostly known as 'the lady of the bog.'   It was difficult to understand the nuances that Williamson was trying to portray as Katherine and Alexia interacted.   What would really like to know, though, is why was Alexia drinking the foul-tasting brew each and every time she visited Katherine's hut . . . and what was it for.

Must not forget the addition of Rufus Hall to the cast of characters.   Rufus was a young gentleman, born the seventh son to an impoverished family who served as steward to Sir Thomas.   Rufus's call to fame was the spitefulnesses that he and Alexia engaged in.

One last character mentioned in the book, but never once appeared is Lady Edwina Carleton, Alexia's mother.   Apparently Alexa's relationship with her mother did not merit her mother's appearance in the book.

"She knew what it was to have a mother who always found fault.   Her own mother, Lady Edwina, felt nothing but contempt for her younger daughter and had never bothered to hide it."   (page 119)
Never understood how Alexia could have developed into such a self-confident, determined, outspoken, strong-willed woman if she was raised by a fault-finding mother.   Was Williamson trying to tell the reader that a daughter can dismiss a mother as easily as an author can?   It just didn't ring true!

While the volatility of the relationship between Jamie and Alexia inspired them to the greatest heights of love, it was that constant unpredictability that lessened the enjoyment factor of the book.   Cannot understand why someone would want to be in a relationship of constant upheaval.   Surely, even that much 'make-up' sex cannot be worth the constant fighting between two strong-willed people!

In conclusion, Beloved Rogue is an enjoyable, but not must-read Historical Romance.   Williamson created: {1} Jamie: the perfect alpha, hunky, hero (in spite of a disapproving harridan of a mother) who never seemed to make a mis-step (except when it came to dealing with the heroine); {2} Alexia: a heroine that was too strongly opinionated, even though she, too, had a mother who faulted her every action; {3} many wonderfully-written and engaging supporting characters that added depth and interest to the story; {4} several exciting sequences of action that added an adventurous flavor to the book; {5} a deeply moving emotional story that brought laughter and tears; {6} love-at-first-sight romance and all the foibles that come with such an event; {7} lots of passionate lovemaking peppered the book, even though there was no sizzle or spark; {8} a suspenseful aura permeated the story: {a} how can Jamie and Alexia resolve their volatile differences to reach a loving understanding; {b} will Jamie be usurped by his brother; {c} who is trying to kill Alexia; {9} actual historical characters added realism to story line; and {10} the requisite happily-ever-after.
--Vonda M. Reid (Thursday, February 23, 2012 : 1:42 a.m.)   [215]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Beloved Rogue Quotations:
222. . . understood for the first time that the true horror of death was not its inevitability, but its permanence.
232And then she would have to live with the choice.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Characters Found In "Beloved Rogue"
Character / Location Description / Relationships
Jamie Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Hero] bright blond hair streaked platinum by the sun; lean; quick; ran with easy grace of stallion; fearless reckless ferocity (12) athlete (16) hard sinewy muscle encased his rib cage (17) bright gold streaked with silver and cut close to his head so that it resembled a gilded helmet; strange dusky green, like river moss eyes; high, sculptured cheekbones; thin blade of a nose; wide, flexible mouth; air of casual elegance about him (18) long, slender fingers; clean, well cared for nails (20) talent for acting (42) 17 + 5 = 22-y-o (44) moved with aura of hard elegance; every inch the lord (50) played lute; lithe, athletic body; would outshine all queen's courtiers (65) tight buttocks; slender muscular thighs (67) feline quality to way he moved; lean, muscular elegance (68) broad, muscular chest (85) loved music; played virginals and the spinet (92) eighth Lord of Maxwell (336) Earl of Morton (361)
Alexia Carleton
Thirlwall Castle, England
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Heroine] tall (2) 14y-o (2) raised as son, taught to use sword, lance, long bow (5) father's favorite (9) flat as a kneading board; long and skinny as a Maypole; nose too thin and haughty; mouth too full; legs were gangly; feet too big; dark brown hair, with autumn lights of red and gold (18) gnawed, stubby nails (20) 19-y-o (23) remarkable eyes, tawny and flecked with umber (32) strong bones and muscles of wrist (40) grace and beauty; rare strength of spirit (44) thick, waist-length hair (47) small, yet round full breasts (71) couldn't carry a tune (92) all sharp bones; sharper words; mind that reasoned like a man's (114) woman of steel and earth and fire; mysterious (177) long, slender legs (178)
. . . . . .
AphroditeAlexia's falcon; wedding gift from Jamie (148) sensitive, excitable creatures (174)
Big Jock Armstrong
[Secondary Character] giant man; massive head; black beard (38) wide grin; craggy face (45) taciturn (207)
Maggie Armstrong
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Rare Appearances] washing woman / cousin to Big Jock; large woman (175) talked freely (176)
Mary [Armstrong]
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[One Appearance] washing woman / Maggie's older sister (175) hushing sister (176)
Richie Armstrong[No Appearance In Book] Wat's uncle; foul sort (63)
Wat Armstrong
[One Appearance] friend and ally of Jamie's; stopped by his castle during travels // massive head; tangled black hair; flowing beard (59) huge man; broad shoulders (60)
___ Armstrong[One Appearance] Wat's daughter; curly black hair; saucy, dimpled smile (61)
Molly Bell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Rare Appearances] maid; recently married; pregnant (211)
Nickie Bell
Threave, Scotland
[No Appearance In Book] killed in raid on Threave
Willie Bell
Thirlwall Castle, England
[One Appearance] stableboy; Alexia won his clothes dicing in back stall (2) skinny; tow-headed (4)
Archie Campbell
Earl of Argyle
[No Appearance In Book] Madeleine's husband (74) died fifteen years ago (76)
Colin Campbell
Sixth Earl of Argyle
Stirling Castle, Scotland
[Secondary Character] Madeleine's only child; dour-faced man; "so godly, he thinks he sweats holy water" (75) Privy Council at Stirling Castle (99) ambitious; Protestant; political arena suited to his special talents, his ability to rule (100) obsidian eyes; narrow, pinched face; huge, spotless desk (101) obsequious (309)
Elspeth Campbell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Secondary Character] all white and gold -- a sugared confection out of a comfit box; pale, silver-blond hair, pile in tight curls atop her head; tiny; delicate as Belgian lace; 26-y-o; epitome of ideal feminine beauty (96) luminous blue eyes (97) cousin to Jamie's mother; orphaned young; ward of Jamie's father; rich; politically powerful (98)
Lady Madeleine Campbell
dowager countess of Argyle
Kilchurn Castle, Scotland
[Secondary Character] Jamie's Auntie Mad, lived at Kilchurn Castle (49) large woman; adored Jamie; Jamie's aunt (73) loved to gossip; daughter of a moderately prosperous local miller (75) mammoth shoulders (76)
Lady Edwina Carleton[No Appearance In Book] Alexia's mother (1) always found fault; felt nothing but contempt for her young daughter, never bothered to hide it (119)
Evelyn "Evie" Carleton
Thirlwall Castle, England
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Secondary Character] Alexia's sister; brown hair (3) would never marry (9) older sister; gauze mask covered her face (24) scarred, burn-ravaged face (30) description of mask (154)
Sir Thomas Carleton
Thirlwall Castle
English Side of Border
[Major Secondary Character] Alexia's father; tall; burly (1) chief of Carleton clan; 10 years as warden for English West march 97) gnarled fingers (8) no direct mail heirs (9) lined leathery face; paunch (10) protruding stomach (23) considerable girth; gout (32) simple, blunt, old Border raider (114)
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[One Appearance] gardener
Carlisle Castle, England
[One Appearance] Carlisle Castle guard member (35)
[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] queen's courtier (65)
Nicholas Forster
[One Appearance] Alexia's husband // 30-y-o; more presentable than handsome; merchant-adventurer, partner in prestigious Muscovy Company; if next venture a success, would be one of wealthiest men in England (26) shorter than Alexia by a head; body thickly slabbed with muscle; covered with pelt of curling black hair (27) working 18-hour days for last three months; outfitting Resolute for Russian expedition; rode 250 miles from Long for wedding (28)
Fergie Hall
[No Appearances] Rufus's brother; Jamie won horse from him
Rufus Hall
Thirlwall Castle, England
[Rare Appearances] stocky young man; dun-colored hair; father's steward (3) "never passed up opportunity to get her in trouble" (4) pompous (9) gentleman; younger son of impoverished family (9) youngest of seven sons to impoverished family; without money had little prospects, no hope of future; too dull; too common-looking (248)
Seymour Howard
Carlisle Castle
English Side of England
[Major Secondary Character] Alexia's betrothed; young man; elaborately dressed; dark head; gold-studded earring sparkled in one ear; warm smile lit up his face; dark brown eyes (23) handsome; soulful eyes (25) one of the queen's favorite's (31) beard (32)
Angus Johnstone
[Rare Appearances] Alexia saved him when being chased by Maxwells / head of clan Johnstone; Jamie's bitterest enemy (190) fiery beard; black eyes (243)
Mat Johnstone
[No Appearances] at fair (158) Diccon's arch-rival (159)
Sandie Johnstone
[One Appearance] fiery red hair (12) heavy Scottish burr; thick; bony; loose-limbed joints; very big hands; hard, flinty black, cruel-looking eyes (13)
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Major Secondary Character] tall; thin; dressed all in black; pale, sharp-boned oval face with winged brows soaring above ash-gray eyes (164) Witch of Solway; rumored mistress of old Lord Maxwell; resident in bog since before Jamie's birth (176) lived alone in a hut in middle of marsh with deadly quicksands; hut filled with jars and boxes of mysterious potions; exotic animal for a house pet; white, ageless face; dresses all in black; speaks little; rarely makes sense (188) warm, husky laugh (197) bastard daughter of bishop of Carlisle (219)
Captain Mapes
Carlisle Castle, England
[One Appearance] captain of the Carlisle Castle guard (34) conscientious man (35)
Andy Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Secondary Character] Jamie's younger brother (120) curling blond hair; large, green Maxwell eyes; 6-y-o (135)
Lady Annor Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Major Secondary Character] Jamie's mother; Archie's baby sister; hammering duty into her sons (76) forced abdication (107) bright red-gold hair; dark pewter gray hair; face too arrogant and harsh to be beautiful; Jamie's face (115) tiny lines aged her face; fierce Maxwell pride radiated from every inch (118) could not read nor write (224)
Diccon Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Secondary Character] Jamie's younger brother (120) early teens; looked like Robin; thickly built; redheaded (136) 14-y-o (334)
Lord John Maxwell
[Brief Appearance] Jamie's father; Scottish warden (4) five sons (10) half a head taller than Sir Thomas; hair and beard were bright red (11)
John Maxwell
[No Appearance] John and Annor's first son; drowned young (76) slower; more cautious; nine when died; one year older than Jamie (181)
Malcolm Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Major Secondary Character] Jamie's brother (33) small; frail-looking; very dark; dragged one foot slightly behind the other caused by deformity of one shoulder being higher than the other (36); fine black brows (36) Maxwell green eyes; sharp, foxlike face (37) dark, sardonic face (119) most complex; a dark, butter underside to his humor (120) face similar to Jamie's; high, sculptured cheekbones; long, narrow nose; wide-spaced, lazy-lidded eyes; 17-y-o; hard, bitter set to mouth (268)
Robin Maxwell
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[Major Secondary Character] Jamie's brother // father's fiery red hair; equally bright, neatly clipped beard; green Maxwell eyes (48) chief pastime: entering and wagering on horse races (227)
Nana[No Appearance] midwife who birthed Katherine; loved, cared for, raised Katherine (219) herbalist; silly, foolish boasting; tiny mole on nose (220)
Mistress Parsons
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[No Appearance] miller's wife; just had son (175)
Geoffrey Peele [Peale]
Caerlaverock, Scotland
[One Appearance] unadorned black doublet; air of a gentleman; thin, aesthetic face; chilling blue eyes; friend of Annor's (283) priest; Peale (291)
Raleigh[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] queen's courtier (65)
Satan's SteedJamie's black stallion
Sir Wat Scott
attended March Meeting / from Hermitage (237)
James Stuart
King James VI of Scotland
Stirling Castle, Scotland
[Actual Historical Character / Minor Secondary Character] Queen Elizabeth's legitimate successor; queen's cousin (100) young; 20-y-o; thin; pale; awkward as stick doll in plain black clothes; thin, bony fingers (107) endured poverty and humiliation in Scotland; desired to rule England (108)
Mary Stuart of Scotland
Chartley Castle, Staffordshire
[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] Queen of Scotland // widowed young by impotent dauphin of France; married Lord Darnley (pretty face, degenerate); killed for James Hepburn, Earl of Bothwell (flamboyantly attractive; unbridled lusts; hunger for throne) (314)
Queen Elizabeth Tudor[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] English (7) raucous, fun-loving court; loved handsome, virile young men of wit, charm, daring (31) 51-y-o (100) Queen Elizabeth I of England (101)
[No Appearance] man in London that Argyle and ambassador would pass along intelligence to (113)
{un-named}[Rare Appearances] in league with Argyle // queen's ambassador short, balding man of indeterminate age; bland, nondescript features (101) genius at manipulating people with words (114)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Penelope Williamson
        aka: Penn Williamson
        aka: Elizabeth Lambert
Comprehensive Booklist:
    ♣   Fantastic Fiction
Penelope Williamson Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB
Penn Williamson Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB
Elizabeth Lambert Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Beloved Rogue Reviews:
RatedPostedSiteNotes, Comments, Etc.
4.00 average{5 reviews}Amazonas of: February 23, 2012
--{no reviews}Barnes and Nobleas of: February 24, 2012
3.50 average{2 reviews}Good Readsas of: February 24, 2012
2.50{2 ratings}Library Thingas of: February 24, 2012
3.30 average{7 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: February 24, 2012
--10-06-2011Regan's Romance ReviewsArticle about Penelope Williamson
4.00 average{1 review}Shelfarias of: February 24, 2012
--{no reviews}We Readas of: February 24, 2012
3.8502-24-2012Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Good Reads, Shelfari

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating
♥  Willing to share Cheat Sheet
    ♦  in whole or in part
    ♦  WordPerfect or PDF
♣  Will add your Beloved Rogue review link to table, just ask

Monday, February 20, 2012

Margaret Mallory -- Knight of Passion

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {4.25}
Action: ♠♠♠. / Emotion: ♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥. / Sensuous: ♦♦. / Suspense: ♠♠♠.
Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 3 / Romance: 3.5 / Sensuous: 2.5 / Suspense: 3.5 // Medieval Flavor: 4.5 / Laughter: 3 / Teary: 1

  The Lories (Best Published) -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Winner
  The Winter Rose -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Winner
  Hearts of Excellence -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Winner
  The Maggie -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Finalist
  The Golden Quill -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Finalist
  Award of Excellence -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Finalist
  The Beacon -- 2011 -- Best Historical -- Second Place
  RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Awards --
            Best British-Isles Set Historical Romance -- 2011 -- Nominee

While Knight of Passion, the third book of Margaret Mallory's trilogy, All The King's Men, was an interesting, enjoyable read, did not like it as much as the first two books, Knight of Desire and Knight of Pleasure.   Part of the problem was that took an immediate dislike to Linnet, the heroine of the novel.   Yes, it was easy to understand that she was incredibly young (fifteen) when she used Sir James "Jamie" Rayburn (a character that already loved from the first two books in trilogy) to show her father, Alain, that he could not force her to marry Sir Guy Pomeroy, a man she detested.

That dislike lessened when Mallory painted a bold, vivid picture of what it had been like for Linnet and François to be destitute children after their grandfather's death in that amazingly well-written way Mallory has of developing a story.   Mallory set the stage for a constant aura of suspense that ran throughout the entire book by featuring Linnet as a strong, determined heroine, whose entire purpose in life was to exact vengeance upon the men who, under the guise of "dear old friends," had ruined her grandfather's business during his last years as he struggled with dementia.

There were several different threads running through Jamie and Linnet's story.   The brightest and strongest thread being, of course, fixing the damaged relationship between Jamie and Linnet.   The second thread being that of Linnet's obsession with finding the man who lead the merchants who stole her grandfather's wealth.   If the reader read the "Historical Note" (at the end of the book), it would explain the appearance of the next two threads in the story.   It was obvious Mallory has done her research regarding this time period and has a magical way of spinning a tale about how things may have happened between several of those historical people by having them interact with Jamie and Linnet.   (Really liked the wonderful addition of "Historical Notes" section that Mallory included at the end of each book of the trilogy -- they were extremely illuminating.)

Knight of Passion was filled with many historical facts and actual historical figures from the 1420s.   Mallory cleverly told the story of how the Duke of Gloucester and Bishop Beaufort of Winchester fought for control of the three-year-old king, by making Linnet the confidant of Queen Katherine (king's mother) and having the Duke of Bedford assign Jamie to watch over the young queen while she was residing at Windsor Palace.   The third thread of the story was woven as Jamie and Linnet tried to prevent the love affair that developed between Queen Katherine and her newly-assigned 'Keeper of the Wardrobe,' Owen Tudor.   Readers of the first book of the trilogy, Knight of Desire, would understand the history behind Jamie's friendship with Owen.   Mallory, however, left the thread of how Linnet came to be a close friend and a confidant of Katherine frayed.

The fourth thread interwoven into the story is a scenario that might explain how the Duke of Glouchester's vain, vindictive mistress, Eleanor Cobham, came to be accused of witchcraft in her quest to sit on the throne.   Mallory intertwined Linnet's and Jamie's lives with that of Guy Pomeroy, a close friend of the Duke.   Because Guy still desired Linnet and hated Jamie for thwarting his efforts to get her into his bed, a sequence of events unfolded which lead Linnet through a secret tunnel to witness a witches' cabal that was tied to Eleanor and several of her clerics.

The characters of Linnet and François somehow seemed not quite as real because they lacked a surname (must be a personal quirk thing).   They had a grandfather, who had no first name much less a surname.   They were the illegitimate children of Alain (again no last name).   Their mother (who must have been the daughter of their grandfather) was a shadowy apparition.   And, finally, Linnet's husband, Louis (the man who financed her business and allowed her to further thumb her nose at Guy Pomeroy), was granted no surname either.

Really hated that Mallory did not more fully develop François's personality and feature him a bit more in the book.   François may have looked almost identical to his twin sister, but he was her complete opposite in personality -- a laid-back kind of guy, whose life seemed to revolve around enjoyment rather than business.   One note: really liked the way Mallory described François's personality (reminiscent of Stephen in Knight of Pleasure).   After having read the first two books of this trilogy, this seems to be one of Mallory's trademarks -- to introduce a fascinating supporting character, but to minimally develop that personality, leaving the reader wishing to know so much more about him/her.

Another cute character that would have enjoyed reading more about is Martin, Jamie's squire.   This young man was a wonderful addition to the cast of characters.

Another constant theme that ran through the book was that Linnet was a very atypical medieval woman.   She did not care about being demure and following the rules.   In fact, it was quite obvious that she not only flaunted convention, but seemed to take great pleasure in "poking a stick in the hornet's nest," which seemed to land her in trouble with regularity.   In fact, the reason she turned down Jamie's marriage proposal in the prologue was because she did not want to be a boring, 'stay at home and listen to her husband repeat his dull war stories'-kind of wife.

And while it was easy to understand why Jamie walked out on Linnet when it was obvious she used him by making sure her father and Guy found her naked in bed with Jamie, there were a few times that Jamie was not as understanding as a man in love should be.   Again, Mallory used the jealously factor extensively (as she did in book one, Knight of Desire) -- Jamie (like his stepfather, William FitzAlan) had a bad case of assuming the uber-beautiful Linnet was sleeping with each man with whom she interacted.   And while it made sense that Jamie would demand that Linnet make a choice -- him or revenge, -- why didn't he see that he could have prevented Linnet from walking into dangerous situations as she sought retribution by joining in her quest.

Since Jamie and Linnet were unable to keep their hands off each other in spite of their best efforts, it was no surprise that their story was peppered with many love scenes.   Mallory has an amazing talent for writing heated, intense love scenes that were incredibly sensual, slightly graphic, and had a bit of sizzle.   The fact that it was obvious that Jamie and Linnet were meant for each other and quite often found themselves fighting about their roles in their relationship, it was no surprise that their lovemaking was extremely emotional as well.

Was pleasantly surprised when Mallory introduced several more slightly-developed secondary characters to add more depth and intricacy to the story.   First there were the Staffords.   Bishop Beaufort made tentative arrangements for Jamie to become betrothed to Lady Agnes Stafford, the 'I don't want to get married to a man -- I want to marry the church' daughter of the malicious Sir Charles Stafford, who had significant holdings in the north near the Scottish border (near Uncle Stephen's lands), which would give Jamie his own estate.

The biggest surprise, however, was when Jamie's parents (William and Catherine), came to him to introduce him to his paternal uncle.   Was really surprised when Mallory tied up this loose end that she left straggling way back in the first book of the trilogy.

In sooth, do not know what else to write in this review.   This has been a review fueled by a writer's block attitude of "don't really want to be doing this right now -- would rather read another book."   The words are forced -- the ideas just aren't flowing.   Nevertheless . . .

Would recommend any book written by Margaret Mallory.   Knight of Passion has all the requisite features that make for a great read:   {1} a hunky, strong-willed, skillful warrior for a hero; {2} a beautiful, intelligent, determined, self-sufficient heroine; {3} a bit of action that adds flavor and interest to the story; {4} a strong thread of suspense runs through the story: {a} how will Jamie and Linnet ever mange to overcome their difficulties to get their happily-ever-after; and {b} who is the ringleader who orchestrated Linnet's grandfather's ruin; {5} a strong romantic and emotional connection flowed between the hero and heroine; {6} several spicy, heated, sensual lovemaking scenes; {7} intriguing, but not fully-developed supporting characters; {8} seamless incorporation of interesting facts and details about men and women from the history books; {9} the inclusion of heros and heroines from the previous two books of the trilogy; and {10} an action-packed intense finale that closed with a happy future for Jamie and Linnet.

Now that have finished Mallory's All The King's Men Trilogy, am looking forward to reading her next series, Return of The Highlanders.
--Vonda M. Reid (Wednesday, January 25, 2012 : 4:58 p.m.)   [209]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

All The King's Men Trilogy
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.07-2009Knight of DesireWilliam Neville FitzAlan, knightLady Mary Catherine Rayburn, Ross Castle
02.12-2009Knight of PleasureSir Stephen Neville Carleton, knightLady Isobel Hume, expert swordsman
03.06-2010Knight of PassionSir James "Jamie" Rayburn, knightLady Linnet

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Knight of Passion Quotations:
4"Why do men never believe what you say?   They persist in believing "no" means "perhaps," and "I despise you" means "I want you to write me bad poetry."
52"he was a lost man."   . . .   "There was no one for him but her.   There never had been.   There never would be."
85. . . Owen spreading charm like a farmer spreads manure -- and Queen Katherine wallowing in it like a happy hog.
122He wanted her to sit by her window and long for him, ache for him.   To dream of him, despite herself.   To know that no other would ever satisfy her completely.
He wanted her to suffer as he did.
148"You are braver than I am in so many ways . . . But you are a coward when it comes to love."
254"True love does not come last."
314"Do not live a life of regret like my brother did."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Characters Found In "Knight of Passion"
Character / Location Description / Relationships
Sir James "Jamie" Rayburn[Hero] stubborn sense of honor (1) strong lines to handsome face; violet blue eyes (3) dark hair (4) 3 years older than Linnet (10) battle-hardened knight (15) grew up in bosom of large, politically powerful family (19) long dark hair; striking midnight-blue eyes; all hard angles; face leaner; body more muscular; confidence; fearlessness (20) not yet 24-y-o (70) could read and write (88) eyes color of deep-blue velvet; strong lines and planes of his face; never boasted; walked with confidence; not afraid to fight; chose side of right (126) wiser; jaded (157) powerful; skilled; agile; quick (235)
Lady Linnet[Heroine] beautiful (4) bastard; merchant's granddaughter (6) not quite 16 (10) // white-gold hair fell to her hips (13) happiest in midst of tumult and trouble (14) tangy scent of citrus in her hair (16) direct, ice-blue eyes (18) cornflower blue eyes; looked unnervingly like twin (45) stubborn; independent (66) determination (88) wiser; jaded (157) no delicate flower; tore through life, leaving a burned trail behind; fiery nature; strength; unwillingness to follow rules of her class and sex (223) silky white-gold hair (258) a face men would go to war for; soft blue eyes; straight nose; full bottom lip; high cheekbones (259) fierce in her loyalty; awesome in her determination; courageous; clever; witty (346)
. . . . . .
Alain[One Appearance] Linnet' father (2) claimed Linnet and François as children when legitimate sons were dead (5) nearly 60-y-o (292)
Alderman Arnold[Rare Appearances] Linnet wanted to question in regard to her quest to avenge her grandfather / short; well-fed man; alderman (105) would know if Flemish cloth changed hands without proper payment 10-y-a (106)
Edmund Beaufort[Actual Historical Character / Secondary Character] [Historical Fact: carried on a flirtation with Queen Katherine.] [Book: calculated moves to gain control of king via queen, i.e., flirtation; flirted shamelessly with Linnet / young; handsome; brilliant; unmarried; brightest hope for next generation of Beauforts (24) 19-y-o; last 7 years as hostage (28)
Henry Beaufort,
Bishop of Winchester
[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] [Historical Fact: Henry V's half-uncle; had an important place on the Council] [Book: perseverance (43) Duke of Bedford's uncle (171)
John, Duke of Bedford[Actual Historical Character / Brief Appearance] [Historical Fact: One of Henry V's surviving brothers; was appointed senior regent of the realm and was in charge of the ongoing war in France.] [Book: sent Jamie to London to: {1} report on crisis between Bishop, Gloucester; {2} keep young, widowed queen safe / Henry's eldest surviving brother; difficult task of governing French territories and prosecuting the war there (11) Gloucester's brother (175)
Joanna Belknap[Rare Appearance] Queen Katherine's lady-in-waiting (190)
Roger Bolingbroke[Actual Historical Character / Rare Appearance] [Historical Fact: accused of sorcery, as co-conspirator with Eleanor Cobham; hung, drawn and quartered. ] [Book: cleric; pointed beard; Oxford scholar in astrology (104)
Brokely:[Brief Appearance] mastermind behind scheme to ruin Linnet's grandfather; mayor's father in law (348)
Isobel Carleton[Rare Appearances][Heroine of Book 2] Stephen's wife (67)
Stephen Carleton[Rare Appearances][Hero of Book 2] Jamie's uncle (67) ten years older than Jamie; more like brother (276)
Carter[Brief Appearances] man Linnet hired to protect her when Jamie left / her escort; huge (305)
Lady Eleanor Cobham[Actual Historical Character / Secondary Character] [Historical Fact: Eleanor Cobham was an ambitious woman. She became Humphrey's mistress while she was lady-in-waiting to his wife, and then his duchess when his first marriage was invalidated.] [Book: Took an active dislike towards Linnet because of Humphrey's interest in her / Humphrey's lover (42)
Joanna Courcy[Rare Appearance] boldest of queen's ladies-in-waiting (143)
Mayor Coventry[Brief Appearances] Linnet was trying to gain access to question regarding fabric merchants / broad back gone to fat (218) dark hair; fat cheek, pink with health (219)
Lady Elizabeth[No Appearance] Lady Agnes would be staying with her while in London
Lady Catherine FitzAlan[Rare Appearances] [Heroine of Book 1] Jamie's mother (174)
William FitzAlan[Rare Appearances][Hero of Book 1] Jamie's step-father; a good man (171) hair cropped short (262) huge; formidable; hard, handsome face; fading tawny hair (269)
Bridget [FitzAlan][One Appearance] Jamie's 3-y-o sister (257)
Elisabeth [FitzAlan][One Appearance] Jamie's sister (257)
Nicholas [FitzAlan][One Appearance] Jamie's brother (257)
François[Secondary Character] Linnet's brother (5) twin (20) cornflower blue eyes; looked unnervingly like twin (45) "if swept ashore in a strange land, he'd know half the criminals and be invited to sup at the king's table within a week." (105) straight white teeth (129)
Geoffrey[Brief Appearance] Isobel's brother; joined a monastery in Northumberland (263) big, barrel-chested young man; tonsured hair (307) ever the peacemaker (308)
Duke of Gloucester
[Actual Historical Character / Secondary Character] [Historical: During Bedford's absence, the government of England was headed by Henry V's other surviving brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, who was appointed Protector and Defender of the Realm. His duties were limited to keeping the peace and summoning Parliament.] [Book: tried to get Linnet in his bed by saying had information on merchant she was looking for / king's youngest brother (5) drunk; Protector and Defender of England (42) full of bombast and bluster; wandering eye (43)
Jacqueline de Hainaut[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] married Gloucester even though King Henry had forbidden the marriage (163)
Higham[Rare Appearances] one of men Linnet saw in London house years ago; unusual silver-tipped cane (95)
John Hume[Actual Historical Character / Rare Appearance] [Historical Fact: John Hume, turned informant against Eleanor Cobham and her co-conspirators.] [Book: cleric; weasel; clerk in Gloucester's household (105)
Sir John[One Appearance] present in Curfew Tower when Jamie found Pomeroy to publically challenge to a duel / big man from Northumberland; knew father well; fought with Jamie in France (226)
Margery Jourdemayne[Actual Historical Character / Rare Appearance] [Historical Fact: Since this was Margery Jourdemayne's second offense, she was burned as a relapsed heretic.] [Book: old woman's apprentice; gave Cobham potions she wanted (62) "Witch of Eye" (138)
Master Leggett[No Appearance] one merchant in London Linnet could trust; had helped grandfather, Linnet, François escape London to Calais (95) was actually part of grandfather's ruin (106)
Mistress Leggett[Brief Appearance] Linnet questioned about merchants since her husband had died / huge, hamlike hands; jowls (106)
Lily[Brief Appearance] Mychell's daughter; Linnet encountered her in grandfather's old house on Strand where she grew up / 7/8-y-o girl; shiny red curls (36) precocious; full of life
Lizzie[Brief Appearances] Linnet's maid (305)
Louis[No Appearance] Linnet married for money and independence (33) reasons Linnet married Louis: {1} funds to start business; {2} house in Calais; {3} foothold in Flemish cloth market (68) 70-y-o (70)
Martin[Secondary Character] Jamie's new squire (26) father died when a babe (230) natural skill with sword (279)
Master Mychell[No Appearance] One of the merchant's Linnet set out to ruin / lackey; not clever enough to plan demise of business; grandfather's house was his reward; greasy-haired rodent (34)
Guy Pomeroy[Secondary Character] Linnet had Pomeroy fearful of begetting different heir when she married Promeroy's great-uncle / snake; close to Duke of Gloucester (5) powerfully built; violent (7) lecherous; devil-eyed (19) smelled of onions, dank sweat, covered by gagging heavy scent (46) powerful; skilled (235)
Anne [Rayburn][Epilogue: Brief Appearance] Jamie and Linnet's daughter (382)
John Alan [Rayburn][Epilogue: Brief Appearance] Jamie and Linnet's 4-y-o son (382)
Sir Robert[No Appearance] [featured in Books One and Two] Linnet and François left in his care for two years (292)
Rose[Rare Appearances] went to Linnet's home to return letters Alain had written to her grandfather / Mychell's daughter (290) prettier than Lily; 19-y-o (291) voluptuous; mirror image of Lily (333)
Thomas Southwell[Actual Historical Character / Rare Appearance] [Historical Fact: accused of sorcery, as co-conspirator with Eleanor Cobham; died in Tower. ] [Book: cleric; physician; canon of St. Stephen's church in Westminster Palace (104)
Lady Agnes Stafford[Secondary Character] Only daughter of Charles Stafford; father negotiating to betroth to Jamie; would father join church / pretty; very fair skin; dark soulful eyes (177) dour expression; tiny thing (179) big breasts (213)
Sir Charles Stafford[Secondary Character] Negotiating with Bishop Beaufort; considering Jamie as man to marry his daughter / paid sentage in lieu of serving; significant holdings in the north near Scottish border, near Uncle Stephen's lands; no male heir (172) stout; florid complexion of man who drank too much; spoke too loud (177) churlish, malicious disregard for daughter's feelings (178)
Mother Therese[No Appearance] Agnes Stafford quoted often / resided at Saint Mary of the Woods, near Stafford lands (181)
ThunderJamie's warhorse (11)
Owain ap Tudor /
Owen Tudor
[Actual Historical Character / Major Secondary Character] [Historical Fact: had four or five children with Queen Katherine while serving as her Clerk of the Wardrobe. While it is generally believed the two secretly married, there is no record of it.] [Book: one of King Henry's squires of the body; will join queen's service; handsome Welshman; devil in his eyes (55) good-humored man; wit; charm (56) fine build; jaunty air (80) muscular thighs (189) heavy, muscular frame; lightheartedness; good humor (191)
Queen Katherine de Valois[Actual Historical Character / Major Secondary Character] [Historical Fact: King's mother; as Charles VI's {French} daughter, was viewed with considerable suspicion by English nobles and prevented from having a full role in her son's upbringing.] [Book: fragile-looking; 24-y-o (17) astonishingly lack of interest in politics (20) sister to the dauphin (22) flirtatious nature; girlhood in convent; charming; pretty (24)
Lady Anne Wheaton[One Appearance] Charles' wife; frail; light, sweet voice; icy hands, light as a feather; warmth and laughter in her hazel eyes (310)
Sir Charles Wheaton[Brief Appearance] Jamie went to meet his paternal uncle / Richard's brother (265) same unusual shade of blue eyes as Jamie; black hair streaked with gray (309)
Richard James Wheaton[No Appearance] Jamie's birth father; monk; unusually contained life (265) kind (311)
Master Woodley[Secondary Character] Linnet's clerk / old man (12)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Margaret Mallory

♠   Website
♣   Twitter
♥   Facebook

♣   Fantastic Fiction
♠   FictionDB

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Knight of Passion Reviews:
RatedPostedSiteNotes, Comments, Etc.
5.0006-02-2010A Journey of Booksalso on: Amazon, Good Reads
3.5005-...-2010A Romance Reviewreads like regurgitated rhetoric review
4.28 average{18 reviews}Amazonas of: February 18, 2012
4.18 average{11 reviews}Barnes and Nobleas of : February 19, 2012
3.5006-...-2010Bella Online 
--06-14-2010Book Junkie[book release blog tour] {author interview}
--06-14-2010Broken Teepee[book release blog tour] [qv]
3.5007-01-2010Caught In A FAB Reviewalso on: Amazon, Good Reads
--06-14-2010Chick With Books[book release blog tour] [uv]
4.0006-19-2011Coffee Time Romance 
4.0006-14-2010DK's Book Reviewsalso on: Amazon, Good Reads [book release blog tour] [qv]
3.0006-02-2010Fiction Vixen[book release blog tour] {guest review}
3.0006-09-2010Find The Time To Read[book release blog tour] [qv]
----Fresh FictionFresh Pick
3.27 average{48 reviews}Good Readsas of: February 19, 2012
3.86 average{51 reviews}Google Booksall reviews are found on Good Reads and
----Hachette Book GroupAll The King's Men Extras
--06-17-2010Heart To Heart: BN Romance Blog 
--06-02-2010History Hoydenssee: Last Article {Interview}
4.5006-11-2010In the Hammock Book Reviewsalso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour]
3.50 / C05-29-2010Jandy's Reading Room 
3.0006-07-2010Just Jennifer Readingalso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour]
3.5002-17-2011Let Them Read Booksalso on: Amazon, Good Reads
4.08 average{6 reviews}Library Thingas of: February 19, 2012 [shame on aromagik]
--06-14-2010Maria's Space[book release blog tour] [qv]
4.0006-09-2010Martha's Bookshelf[book release blog tour]
--06-09-2010Martha's Bookshelf{author interview}
4.2506-07-2010Michelle and Leslie's Book Picsalso on: Amazon, Good Reads [book release blog tour]
5.0006-14-2010My Book Addiction and Morealso on: Amazon [book release blog tour] [qv]
--...-...-2010My Shelf 
--12-15-2010Not Another Romance Blog{Author Preview Article}
--06-09-2010Our Guilty Pleasures[book release blog tour] [qv]
5.00 average{1 reveiw}Overstock . comas of: February 19, 2012
4.00 average{2 reviews}Paperback Swapas of: February 19, 2012
--06-06-2010Readaholic[book release blog tour] [qv]
5.0006-05-2010Rex Robots Reviewsalso on: Amazon, Good Reads [book release blog tour]
4.5006-16-2010Romance Junkies 
A Keeper05-17-2010Romance Reader At Heart{like}
--05-25-2010Romantic Crush JunkiesGiveaway and Interview
4.5 / Top Pick--RT {Romantic Times} Book Review2010 British Isle Set Historical Romance Nominee
--06-03-2010Seductive Musings[book release blog tour] {author interview}
3.50 average{8 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 19, 2012
4.5008-02-2010Single Titles 
3.0006-14-2010Sky Reads and Readsalso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour] [qv]
5.0006-14-2010Starting Freshalso on: Amazon, Good Reads [book release blog tour]
--06-05-2010The Avid Reader[book release blog tour] {author interview}
4.0006-...-2010The Bibliophilic Book Blogalso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour]
dnf07-01-2010The Eclectic Book Loveralso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour] {not a HR Reader}
4.5006-11-2010The Fiction Enthusiast[book release blog tour] [qv]
--07-12-2010The Romance Dish{fifth entry} [synopsis, not a review]
3.00--The Romance Readers Connection 
9 / Top Pick--The Season For Romance 
--02-03-2010Unusual HistoricalsArticle: Katherine de Valois and Owen Tudor
5.0006-17-2010Yankee Romance Reviewersalso on: Good Reads [book release blog tour] [qv]
----You TubeBook Trailer
4.2502-20-2012Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Good Reads, Shelfari

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating
♥  Willing to share Cheat Sheet
    ♦  in whole or in part
    ♦  WordPerfect or PDF
♣  Will add your Knight of Passion review link to table, just ask

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Penelope Williamson -- Keeper of the Dream

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {4.50}
Action: ♠♠♠. / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠
Action: 3.5 / Emotion: 5 / Romance: 3.75 / Sensuous: 2 / Suspense: 3 // Medieval Flavor: 4.75 / Laughter: 9 / Tears: 7

  1992 RITA® -- Single Title Historical
  1992-93 RT Reviewers' Choice -- Medieval Romance
  Desert Island Keeper -- All About Romance

First time to read a book penned by Penelope Williamson.   Decided to read one of P.W.'s books after enjoying The Outcast, a movie based on her novel.   Keeper of the Dream is one of those books that introduces a hero and heroine that jumps into the reader's heart and mind and will not leave one in peace until every last layer of their personality and, eventually, their happily-ever-after has been revealed in glorious, glowing, vivid detail.

It is no surprise that Lady Arianna Gwynedd is a self-confident, sure of her place in the world, independent, stubborn, determined heroine.   First, she is the only daughter of Prince Owain of Gwynedd (a man who rules his people and his family with confidence, is hard, yet fair, is ruthless when he has to be and there is nothing he would not do for Wales and the dream of freedom (including give his daughter in marriage to an invading Norman to bring peace)).   Second, she has grown up attempting to mimic the daring feats and athletic skills of nine brothers -- nine brothers who are as protective of their only sister as she is of them.   (As in, she accepts responsibility for a brother's mishap because her punishment is less severe than theirs would be.)   Third, she grew up in a safe, secure home by parents, who demonstrated the happiness that can be had in a marriage when a man loves his wife as much as she loves her husband.   Fourth, it is obvious that she has been just as valued as her brothers since she does not fear retribution for expressing and showing her opinion on any matter brought to her attention.

It is the hero, however, that is the most compelling of all the characters in the book.   Sir Raine the Bastard, The Black Dragon, knight to King Henry II, was the illegitimate son of an evil, hard-hearted, wealthy, powerful man -- the Earl of Chester.   His childhood was as black as Arianna's was white.   No one lifted a finger to raise him out of the ugly mire that was his life.   Raine, by sheer determination and perseverance, rose from being the stable boy to a father who not only refused to acknowledge him, but would beat him black and blue if he asked for affirmation as the Earl's son, to become the king's best and most accomplished knight.

It is down right impossible not to admire a man whose entire life has forced him to become cynical and not believe in the magic of love and dreams, yet exhibit the honorable attributes of a knight -- to have a kind heart under a veneer of steel.   Each heart-breaking incident in Raine's life has taught him that life is going to kick him when he is down and reward the unworthy.   Raine has perfected the art of showing no emotion, having learned that he must never let anybody see how much something means to him, least it be taken away.

Driven by a consuming desire to have his own lands and a title, Raine captures Rhuddlan, a castle belonging to Ceidro Gwynedd, son to Prince Owain -- a castle he has coveted since it was the location of his most brutal betrayal at the hands of his father.   Raine's hopes of being awarded Rhuddlan for his service to King Henry are dashed when his "so-very-legitimate" half brother; Hugh, now the Earl of Chester, claims Rhuddlan as his.

It is so very easy to detest the sight of Hugh, a man who has been handed everything in life without having to lift a finger -- a man who feels he is entitled to everything he wants.   Raine has to be extremely diligent about betraying no interest in anything when in Hugh's company, because Hugh takes great delight in making sure he doesn't get it.   The love-hate relationship between these half brothers is very complex and extremely difficult to understand.   Although P.W. did not give readers a picture of the relationship between the two half-brothers as they were growing up at Chester, it soon becomes obvious why the greedy, self-centered, self-serving Hugh went to extra lengths to take away anything Raine desired.

P.W. spent a lot of time vividly describing Hugh's perfect tresses, shining accouterments and pristine apparel whenever he arrived on scene, leaving no doubt that Hugh is more concerned with appearances, wielding his power and wealth than performing his honorable knightly duties.   And Hugh had the knack for showing up at the wrong time and the wrong place whenever Raine was about to take another step forward in gaining his heart's desires, to throw a wrench in the works.   Almost groaned in empathy each time Hugh showed up, thinking "for Pete's sake, give the guy a break already!"

Could almost feel sympathy for Hugh, however, when met his ethereally beautiful wife, Sybil.   Thought it was very clever of P.W. to lead readers to believe that Hugh's wife was a haranguing nag, when he described his wife as he attempted to rape Arianna after Rhuddlan was captured.   (Hugh took what he wanted -- he wanted Arianna.)   Although she did not appear as often as Hugh, Sybil greatly added to the difficulties and misunderstandings that were the key to the storyline of the book.   Sybil took no pains to hide the fact that she loved Raine.   When Arianna was sitting in the stands waiting for the King's tournament to begin, the Norman harpies wasted no time pitching their voices so that the gossip about Sybil and Raine reached her ears.

P.W. even gave Sybil a point of view voice in the book.   Sybil was P.W.'s example of what true love was not.   Even though Sybil seemed to have a kind nature and bore more jealously and envy than animosity towards the little Welsh princess who was Raine's wife, she did not posses the strength of character to fight for the man she loved.   (Another example of how being born to a rich powerful family, being given everything you wanted without having to work and struggle for it, left one without the fortitude necessary to fight for love.)   Instead, Sybil, like Hugh, seemed to show up like the proverbial bad apple, and added to the constant turmoil in Raine and Arianna's struggle for happiness.

In fact, the constant turmoil and misunderstandings grew to gigantic proportions.   And even though it was understandable that it would take more than one incident to prove to the jaded, cynical Black Dragon that one person in his life would remain loyal and trustworthy, the book began to feel too long -- there was too much conflict.   However, each scene was well-written, engrossing and added to the rich flavor of the story -- could not imagine asking an editor to cut out one single scene in the book.

There were three more intriguing threads interwoven into Raine and Arianna's story of a timeless love: {1} magic, {2} Taliesin, and {3} the history of the Welsh.   After reading the "Author's Note" (at the end of the book), it became obvious why P.W. featured magic in this Wales-based book.   As the story progressed, Raine and Arianna, both, sensed a timelessness to their passion for each other.   They were drawn to each other despite their very volatile, hate-filled introduction.

For those who enjoy the inclusion of historical details in Historical Romances, Keeper of the Dream will not disappoint.   It is obvious the author did plenty of research about the history, customs, and beliefs of the Welsh (who called themselves Cymry).   Welsh beliefs enabled a Welshman (or woman) to pledge allegiance to a Norman (or Saxon) and feel there was no dishonor in breaking that vow, simply because such vow was not made to a fellow Welshman.   Naturally, this is going to add to the magnitude of the struggles between Arianna and Raine because Arianna was so steeped in the Welsh belief system, that she felt no dishonor when she made a vow to Raine that she had no intention of keeping -- after all, she was a Welshman trying to outwit a Norman.

Then there is the magic that is Taliesin -- a character who played a very intricate role in Raine and Arianna's story.   Two years before the book opened, Taliesin (in the guise of a withered old bard) presented to Arianna, a seer, a golden mazer that once belonged to Myrddin, the greatest magician and seer who ever lived.   The visions Arianna sees in the water of the golden mazer reveal numerous incidents about Raine, including several from his childhood that evoke sympathy and understanding for the great warrior, who was once a wounded little boy.

Taliesin, the wonderful, witty, fun, enchanting, marvelously-written character featured in Keeper of the Dream has spent the last two years serving as the Black Dragon's squire.   An irreverent, constantly disappearing squire.   P.W. did a phenomenal job of creating a character who adds much magic, interest, humor and depth to a timeless love story.   Even though Taliesin's magical abilities add to the drama and flair of the story, it is the well-written, clever dialogue that comes with Taliesin's appearances that make the book such a joy to read.   Here is an example of P.W.'s ability to produce laughter as Taliesin avoids admitting culpability:

... it was Taliesin who burst through the door, shouting.   "Come quickly, my lady!   He is sorely wounded."

Arianna's knees crumbled, and she had to grasp the bedpost for support.   "W-where is he?"

"In the stables.   I fear he is dying."

She ran into the antechamber where the chatelaine's bag of herbs and balms was kept, along with the spice chest and penny barrels.   Why had they left him in the stables?   He must be so badly wounded they were afraid to move him.   God . . . her fingers scraped with desperate haste on the lock.   Dying.   Raine was dying.   Damn him, he couldn't leave her now when she had just barely gotten to know him.   When there was so much left unfinished between them.

Clutching the medicine bag tightly to her chest, she hurried back to the squire.   "What has happened to him?"

"It's his hindquarters, my lady.   They were hurling firepots down on us from a mangonel, and balls of burning pitch.   One struck his hindquarters, setting his tail afire.   He's sorely burned, my lady."

"His tail afire?   Arianna flung the bag onto the bed and seized the boy by his slender shoulders, shaking him so hard his teeth rattled.   "It's not Raine who's wounded, it's his cursed horse!"

He stared at her with wide, innocent eyes.   "Did I not say so?

"Nay, you did not say so," she said through gritted teeth, giving him another rough shake.   "You deliberately misled me!"

A smug grin swept across his face.   . . .
There were a few other supporting characters that added interest to the story.   These characters were not richly developed, because although they played key roles in the progress of the story, they remained in the background.   Would have enjoyed seeing and learning more about: {1} Sir Odo, Raine's second in command, a big knight with a kind heart who was always taking in strays; {2} Prince Owain of Gwynedd: Arianna's father; and {3} Cristyn of Gwynedd: Arianna's mother.   (Loved the scene that involved Owain, Raine, Cristyn, Arianna and the moat.)

Four other characters added depth to the plot.   Two of Arianna's cousins were present at her wedding and were resistant to pledging allegiance to Raine, the new Lord of Rhuddlan: {1} Kilydd ap Dafydd, castellan of the neighboring cantrefi of Rhos, and {2} Ivor ap Gruffyd, castellan of cantrefi of Rhufoniog.   The two barely-developed cousins were integral parts of the story, used to give readers a glimpse into the mindset of the Welsh, and give Raine an opportunity to prove himself as a hard, but fair man, fully capable of ruling Rhuddlan.   The third was Arianna's fourteen-year-old brother, Rhodri, who was left at Rhuddlan as a hostage to promote Prince Owain's compliance with the peace negotiations.   Although Rhodri stayed mostly in the background, he too, also played a vital role in helping to prove to Raine that Arianna was honorable and loyal to him.   The fourth interesting, but stayed in the background character was Christina, a merchant's daughter, who fell in love with Kilydd, and embroiled Arianna in their schemes.

To summarize, Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson is a wonderfully well-written novel that would readily recommend to any lover of Historical Romance books, particularly those fascinated by the Welsh people and their long history of believing in magic and love everlasting.   It features: {1} Raine, one of the most strong, determined, adversity-overcoming heros who ever graced the pages of a book.   He is a gorgeous hunk of masculinity who is strong enough to go toe-to-toe with {2} Arianna, the intelligent, strong-willed, beautiful, 'determined not to back down,' honorable and loyal heroine.   {3} Taliesin, a charming, fun, magical character that is deeply integral in helping Raine and Arianna get to their happily-ever-after.   {4} Plenty of action and adventure featuring Raine's skills as a warrior that fills the 'knight in shining armor' role that appeals to medieval romance readers.   {5} A deep emotional connection to the characters in the book that results in both laughter and tears.   {6} A feeling of suspense permeates the entire twisting and turning story because the reader is never sure if Raine and Arianna are going to reach their happily-ever-after in this life or the next.   {7} A constant bombardment of magical events that adds to the drama and romance of a love so strong it has no end.   {8} Several intriguing, richly-developed supporting characters.   {9} Historically accurate tidbits about the life and customs of the Welsh interwoven in the fabric of the story.   {10} A startling, action-packed, character-revealing finale, followed by {11} a cute, smile-inducing epilogue featuring the ever-engaging Taliesin.
--Vonda M. Reid   (Wednesday; February 15, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.)   [214]

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Keeper of the Dream Quotations:
16"The men in her family were always ordering her about, and she was always ignoring them."
66"You were supposed to . . . to like her . . . "
67". . .   Emotions brought you pain and trouble; . . ."
73"It was his experience that there was no honor anywhere."
417"He had trusted her with his heart and now he was hurting again, and this time the pain was unbearable, and it was all her fault.   Somehow she had wormed her way in under all his careful armor, she had made him start caring about things again, even though he knew better.   Start caring, even the least little bit, and he knew he was just asking for a kick in the guts."
419"I cannot bear this . . . God must end this right now, for I cannot bear it."
419"Grief was endless, she knew that now.   It didn't stop, it just went on and on and on."
420"Love always hurts, my lady.   Even at its most wondrous there is that sweet agony underneath -- the knowledge that to risk loving, is to risk losing and hurting."
421"Something had broken inside of him.   His face had shattered, his eyes bled pain.   He could hide nothing from her anymore.   He stood naked before her, down to his soul."
424"it wasn't necessary to have faith, only to pray and that God would heed the words."

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Characters Found In "Keeper of the Dream"
Character / Location Description / Relationships
Sir Raine the Bastard
The Black Dragon
Lord of Rhuddlan

Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Hero] (1) flint-gray eyes (1) face bore no expression (2) base-born result of a union between the powerful Earl of Chester and a castle whore; knight-errant, without land, supported himself by ransoming prisoners taken in tournaments and wars, and sold himself and his army to the highest bidder; ruthless in battle; merciless in victory; said to have supernatural prowess with the sword and lance; banner: black dragon on red field (8) ruthless determination on hard mouth (11) ambitious: desired title, land, and power (24) intimidated most men; had few close friends (55) patience formidable, cultivated after years of bitter experience (58) self control; 25-y-o (67) always short of money; won fortunes in wars and tournaments; chivalric code demanded extravagance, money trickled through his fingers like water (68) cynical; barely believed in his code of a knight that he lived by (72) sinew of lean, hard muscled thighs (79) sun-browned skin of hard, ruthless face; purposeful, long-legged stride; sauntering sway of lean hips; sharp bones to his predatory nose; high cheekbones (80) impassive face; appeared indifferent (84) fought with grace and power, controlled, flawlessly executed violence (110) hands marred by calluses and scars, browned by the sun, hands of nobleman, long, fine-boned, strangely graceful (129) body of a warrior, brown, battered, brawny; scarred, gruesome puckered one on his shoulder, angry red welt wrapped around his waist (155) tone of quiet command in his voice (175) back strapped with muscle (176) hard, yet fair; brave; never boasts; at heart the chivalrous knight; steadfast in his honor and loyalty; generous to those less fortunate; can be gentle and tender (264)
Lady Arianna Gwynedd
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Heroine] (3) fat brown braid; wore ancient seer's torque around neck; could not summon visions, they came rarely and unexpectedly (3) Gwynedd temper; Prince's daughter (4) Gwynedd features: pointed chin, sharp cheekbones, wide-spaced sea-foam eyes; 19-y-o (4) of the House of Cunedda (5) attempted to mimic daring feats and athletic skills of nine brothers (10) a pointed, sharp-bones face; eyes the dusky color of the sea on a wintry day (24) striking (29) small, uptilted breasts (59) wide, expressive mouth; very full lips (60) slim hips; long legs (66) slim-hipped; long-legged (66) breeding in elegant bones of her face; delicate white hands that had never toiled in the hot sun; arrogant tilt of head and chin from lifetime of ruling; beautiful; worth her weight in gold (68) gold and red threaded through darker sable-brown hair (96) courageous; honorable; dutiful (153) core of iron; self-contained; hard and endurable (385)
. . .. . .
Dame Beatrix
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Rare Appearances] midwife; middle years; slab-jawed; nose hooked like an eel pole; little slits for eyes (307)
Roger de Bessin
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Actual Historical Character / One Appearance] one of Matilda's favorite barons awarded Rhuddlan (172)
Bishop of St. Asaph
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[One Appearance] presided over marriage; gray, wizened visage (126)
old Earl of Chester
[No Appearance] Raine's father // switched sides in war between Stephen and Matilda; gave up his son as hostage when lost Rhuddlan (172) hair the color of ravens; tall; broad; hard-faced (204)
Hugh, Earl of Chester
Chester, England
(across the border from Wales)
[Major Secondary Character] had a love-hate relationship with his half-brother // Raine's so-very-legitimate half brother; ruler of a good part of England; man who had everything Raine wanted; silvered coat of mail sparkled like newly minted coins; rode cream-white palfrey; accoutered with a gilded saddle and breastplate decorated with jingling bells (25) cornflower-blue eyes (28) thick curls the color of burnished gold (30) discovered things that were important to Raine and made sure they were denied him (31) too powerful a baron for the King to deny (32) fine lines radiated around his eyes; skin below his cheekbones looked sallow (37) small tick at corner of right eye indicated nervousness (73) hair shown almost as brightly as his armor, curled the locks in a press to get them to coil precisely over his shoulders (104) white, smooth, ring-laden hands; nails chewed to the quick (133) jaded; profane (137)
Sybil, Lady of Chester
Chester, England
(across the border from Wales)
[Major Secondary Character] Hugh's wife; spent the entire book pining after Raine, telling him how much she still loved him // timid as a hedge hen (37) Raine had once loved; pale blond hair; married 6 years (41) pale gold hair, the color of the hottest sun (94) hair so blond, it was more silver than gold; fair and pale; very dainty; epitome of the feminine ideal (98) small ankles; pure white skin (138) lavender-blue eyes (139) 27-y-o; barren (341)
Rhuddlan Village, Wales
[Secondary Character] Merchant's daughter; in love with Kilydd ap Dafydd // butter-yellow hair; doe-brown eyes; only child of town draper, who died over a year ago (97) inherited and running her father's business; pure Saxon blood; hated Normans (98)
Kilydd ap Dafydd
[Secondary Character] Arianna's cousin; stole Rhuddlan's cattle; would swear the false 'Welsh' allegiance to new Lord of Rhuddlan // castellan of neighboring cantrefi of Rhos (117) tall; whip lean; skin bronzed by the sun and tawny hair docked in front like a priest's (116) roguish, risk-taking (118) warm gold eyes to match his hair, the color of summer honey; beard-roughened cheeks; drooping Welsh mustache (135) son of Arianna's mother's brother (246) handsome; flowing blond mustaches; soft, golden eyes; spitefulness in him; cravenness (428)
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Secondary Character] Arianna's ladies maid (77) bovine smile; round, poxed face; small, squinty eyes like squash seeds; wren-brown hair that hung in strings over her bony shoulders (78)
Ivor ap Gruffyd
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Secondary Character] Arianna's cousin; stole Rhuddlan's cattle; would swear the false 'Welsh' allegiance to new Lord of Rhuddlan // castellan of neighboring cantrefi of Rhufoniog (117) older, middle-aged, with meaty shoulders and thick thighs corded like barrels; long metal-gray hair that hung lanky about his shoulders (117) shaped like a squat ale keg; tiny, dark unblinking eyes, like olive pits (134) beard-roughened cheeks; drooping Welsh mustache (135) killed one brother, blinded another so might rule Rhufoniog (231)
Ceidro Gwynedd
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Brief Appearance] Arianna's brother; lived at Rhuddlan Castle; just lost wife and child to childbed // Gwynedd temper; Prince's son (4) thin, beardless face; Gwynedd features: pointed chin, sharp cheekbones, wide-spaced sea-foam eyes; 20-y-o (4) gentle nature (9)
Cynan Gwynedd
[Brief Appearance] Arianna's brother (372) green sea-foam eyes (462)
Cristyn of Gwynedd
Dinas Emrys, Wales
[Brief Appearance] Arianna's mother (273) laugh tinkled like silver chimes (274) Owain was the sun of her world (275) small pointed chin; small; slender (277) married 25 years (281)
Prince Owain of Gwynedd
Dinas Emrys, Wales
[Important Secondary Character] Arianna's father; awarded his daughter, Arianna, to the new Lord of Rhuddlan in peace negotiations with King Henry // confident in his ability to rule; conscious always of the motive and actions of those around him (107) big man; gray-streaked hair fell unbound around his shoulders; stern, forbidding lines in his warrior's face (263) thick drooping mustache (264) hard, yet fair; brave; never boasts; at heart the chivalrous knight; steadfast in his honor and loyalty; generous to those less fortunate; can be gentle and tender (264) hard; practical; ruthless when he had to be; nothing he would not do for Wales and the dream of freedom (265) late fifties; face shaped like a rache hound's, long and thin-bones and scored by lines; gray streaked his flowing brown hair; drooping mustaches; Welsh word for color of eyes "glas" neither green nor silver nor blue, but a little of all three (266)
Rhodri of Gwynedd
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Secondary Character] Arianna's younger brother; being held at Rhuddlan Castle as a 'hostage' to keep his father compliant with peace negotiations // 14-y-o; Gwynedd features; eyes several shades paler than Arianna's, color of baby ferns; hair a lighter brown, tipped golden by the sun; all skinny arms and legs (86) pale green eyes; made second squire to Lord of Rhuddlan (164)
[One Appearance] rat catcher at the Crooked Staff (467)
King Henry
[Actual Historical Character / Important Secondary Character] Raine's liege lord // young monarch; freckles stood out like ink marks above his red beard; protruding gray eyes; ruddy color; large, coarse hands (44) long, muscular arms; deep chest, belly showing slight tendency to swell with fat (71) bandy legs; temper always sputtered and flared like a guttering candle (72) fascination with the law (73) preferred plain speaking (74) married to one of most beautiful women in Christendom; reputation for straying; stamp of power on his square, freckled face; confident in his ability to rule; conscious always of the motive and actions of those around him; beard (107)
Merfyn ap Hywell
[No Appearance] had herd of sheep that Owain wants to steal (276)
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[One Appearance] Arianna's cousin; let Ceidro and Arianna know that the army outside the walls of Rhuddlan Castle demanded their surrender // big hands; thick lips beneath drooping mustache (6) hulking shoulders (7) broad back (8)
[Brief Appearances] cinnamon-haired wench Raine bedded during the week of negotiations (90)
aka: Merlin
[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] the greatest magician and seer who ever lived; Taliesin (in guise of old bard) presented golden mazer that once belonged Myrddin to Arianna two years ago
Sir Odo
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Secondary Character] Raine's second in command; gnarled and pitted face; big knight (26) a kind heart; always taking in strays (27) big sorrowful brown eyes (28) big, shaggy head (29) big arms (30) made bailiff of Rhuddlan (165) gap between his two front teeth (166) thick, knotty fingers (168) shaggy brows (248)
Lord of Powys
[Actual Historical Character / No Appearance] Welsh story about Norman husband killing his wife when she warned her father Lord of Powys about her husband's attack
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[One Appearance] cowherd; Lord of Misrule (347)
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Brief Appearances] Raine hired him to build his new castle // master mason from Chester; built like a haystack, round and squat; tools of trade hung from his belt; wheezy breath from years of inhaling stone dust (309) pale, washed-out blue eyes of a winter's sky (310)
Nesta of Rhuddlan
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[Secondary Character] Raine and Arianna's daughter; rosy skin; a heart-shaped face; father's black as sin hair (367)
Rhuddlan Castle, Wales
[One Appearance] Jewish moneylender // fat; bandy legs; waddled; richly dressed; sported fancy beard that had been waxes and tufted and then interwove with gold threads; pointed yellow hat, alone with big circle of saffron-colored cloth sewn on his breast, marked him as a Jew (286) breath smelled sweet, of fennel seeds; god in his teeth (287) moneylender (288)
[Major Secondary Character] Was a timeless magi; posed as an old bard and as Raine's squire; his mission (apparently from the goddesses) was to make sure that Raine and Arianna passed the tests put before them to find their love forevermore // Raine's squire; served Raine for 2 years (7) 17-y-o; russet-colored hair (32) skin as fair as a girls; beautiful smile (33) fair skin; dark red brows on his forehead looked like cuts; sloe-black eyes glinted with a strange, shimmering light (44) smooth, athletic grace (45) a Welsh bard (46) slender back; thin waist; narrow hips; lanky legs (48) better poet than knight (56) very old man, all yellow-skinned with the barest wisps of white hair on his wizened skull (130)
[Actual Historical Saint / No Appearance] Raine recalled story about Welsh girl named Winnifred who was beheaded at well of Bassingwerk Abbey

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Penelope Williamson
        aka: Penn Williamson
        aka: Elizabeth Lambert
Comprehensive Booklist:
    ♣   Fantastic Fiction
Penelope Williamson Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB
Penn Williamson Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB
Elizabeth Lambert Book List:
    ♠   FictionDB

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Keeper of the Dream Reviews:
RatedPostedSiteNotes, Comments, Etc.
A07-20-1999All About RomanceDesert Island Keeper
4.62 average{42 reviews}Amazonas of: February 15, 2012
4.75 average{6 reviews}Barnes and Nobleas of: February 15, 2012
4.01{23 reviews}Good Readsas of: February 16 2012
3.29 average{21 reviews}Google . comas of: February 16, 2012 All reviews from Good Reads
4.375 average{4 reviews}Paperback Swapas of: February 16, 2012
3.30 average{10 reviews}Reader Storeas of: February 16, 2012 All reviews from Good Reads
4.50 average{4 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 16, 2012
5.0010-06-2009Slide Share . comalso on: Amazon
5.00 average{2 reviews}We Readas of: February 16, 2012
4.5002-16-2012Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Good Reads, Shelfari

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating
♥  Willing to share Cheat Sheet
    ♦  in whole or in part
    ♦  WordPerfect or PDF
♣  Will add your Keeper of the Dream review link to table, just ask