First of all, the cover of this book is among my favorites. I love how only half of the knight's face is shown, leaving the rest to the reader's imagination. The castle in the background was yet another nice touch. Now on to the story...
I did not find the violence in this story to be one bit offensive. In fact, it only added to the realism in this tale. Some authors get right into the story surrounding the hero and heroine, whereas Ms. Canham treats you to much more than that. Instead of merely stating that the hero engages in battle, you are taken onto the battlefield with him - the descriptions leaving little to the imagination - BREATHTAKINGLY REAL - the descriptions put you in a mind frame of watching a movie rather than reading a book.
I really enjoyed the story of Ciaran Tamberlane, a man who had lost faith in his God and almost in himself and Amaranth de Langois, the hunted bride of an abusive husband. I fell in love with Ciaran from the moment he was introducd - quiet, yet commanding...the physical description given of him by the author was enough to make me weak in the knees. Black hair, green eyes, tall and muscular....YUM!!!
Amaranth was most certainly courageous in her attempts to escape yet another abusive marriage.
The only thing that prevented me from giving this story a five-star rating was that by the time Tamberlane and Amaranth got around to declaring their love for one another...the book was ending. It's like I was so caught up in the story of how he came to be a excommunicated knight and she a woman on the run and then there was Marak, of course...that by the time the two confessed their feelings for one another, I was like, "Okay, now their story begins." But it doesn't. Don't get me wrong - the love scenes, though few, were wonderful and the attaction between the two was quite obvious from start but I just wanted more!!! *whine However, this doesn't disuade me from ordering every title by Marsha Canham from Amazon.com tonight. *laugh
All in all, this was one of THE BEST medieval stories I've read in quite awhile. Enjoy!