Anita Mills triumphs again with this passionate story based on forbidden love, medieval warfare, and glorious chivalry. Set in 11th century Normandy, this is an intense novel of epic proportions. Many great noblemen intensely pursue the beautiful, young Eleanor of Nantes. But it is to Roger FitzGilbert to whom she surrenders her heart, the one man she is forbidden to love.
The book opens with preparations for a festival staged by Gilbert of Nantes, Eleanor's disappointed father. He is disappointed, in the fact, Eleanor was born female. Painfully wise, Eleanor has accepted that her parents neither love nor enjoy her. Instead she gains comfort from her half-brother, Roger. Closer than other siblings, the two are inseparable.
The party arrangements are underway, and even William the Conqueror and his son, Prince Henry, arrive for the celebration. Forthwith, amused with the spirited Eleanor, William agrees to discuss a betrothal contract, with Gilbert of Nantes, on behalf of his besotted son. Infatuated with the young beauty, the prince will offer marriage, love and friendship to the exquisite Eleanor.
Also attending the feast is one of the most elite villains ever conceived in romance reading -- the wonderfully written Count Robert of Belesme. On this festive day, Robert, a nobleman's son, pledges he will have Eleanor for his own. Brilliantly, Mills shapes this extraordinary individual into a handsome, appealing and forceful man, but oh, he is so ruthless and evil. Using skilled talent, the author toys with her reader's sensibilities. Even though, the reader realizes how heinous this man is, just for a moment, you wish him success -- for Robert of Belesme so wanted and loved Eleanor
This is a tale of heroic magnitude, with Eleanor cast as the Normandy "Helen of Troy", whose beauty, wisdom and grace arouse the greatest warriors of her time. Even the church and the King of England become involved in the battle over Eleanor's fate, as an obsessed Robert lays claim to her.
"Lady of Fire" is a phenomenal read, a page-turner all the way, complete with abduction, manipulation, and confrontation. Yet, throughout it is a tale of a gentle love. An absolute wonderful romance. Well done Anita Mills. Unfortunately, this book is no longer published, but do try to get a copy. It is well worth the effort.
Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.