Wow. Just wow.
I'd never read this author before, which actually surprises me. She's been around since the mid-seventies and has been pretty prolific throughout. I've been reading HR (and bodice-rippers) since the late 70s but for some reason I never picked one up.
I am so glad I finally did -- and thanks to my GR friend Ruth, for writing a stellar review that had me immediately downloading the book from Amazon.
I haven't read a historical romance with so much actual historical detail in it since the early 80s. Everything is here -- the history, the state of the world, the War of the Roses, their clothing and food, their way of life, their manner of speech, their politics, their society -- all of it given throughout the book with nary an info dump to be found.
Oh my GOD
, what a pleasure to read.
The only thing I noticed about this one was that the romance, while satisfying, didn't have quite the level of intimacy (only word I can think of) that I've come to expect from historical romances nowadays. Of course, that's probably because the new books have virtually no historical detail or story other than the relationship between the H/h, but that's what I'm used to and I notice when it's different.
That being said, I liked the Hero very much - he reminded me a bit of Wulfgar of Normandy (The Wolf and the Dove). I didn't find Isobel quite as likeable as Rand (but that's because I'm usually in it only for the men), but I found her frustration at being told who she was to wed very believable. What I also found to be a nice change was the fact that although she was angry at being wed, she had no problems knocking boots with Rand at every opportunity once she discovered how attracted she was to him and how good he was at that part of marriage. ;D Atta girl.
The writing is amazing, the attention to historical detail and background is fantastic. This is a tale of Henry VII's court, the intrigue and deception within it, and the love that grows between a base-born warrior and his lady fair.
Wonderful, wonderful book. 5 stars.