VINE VOICEon 17 October 2004
In the 1990's, I recall a writer - Anita Gordon. She wrote three very amazing Dark Age Viking tales, The Valiant Heart, The Defiant Heart and The Captive Heart, a series for Jove Books. They were simply amazing. Not many Historical writers write of this period and with such vivid details. My having a strong back ground in the history of Britain, it's not often I see Romance writers with this solid of research into their books. Gordon blew me away with the vivid insight and the rich details with which she painted her books. Then nothing. No more Anita Gordons, when I figured she would go on to be one of the top writers in the field. How could she not? Her style of writing is not the knock-the-book-off-in-six months, so I expected another solid Historical that would come away to once more impress me, to thrill me in a year or two. But nothing.
Then came another writer, her style seemed familiar, but time had passed so I did not connect the wonderful writing of Kathleen Kirkwood with the strong forceful tales of Gordon. I read Kirkwood's A Slip Through Time, one of the best Time-Travel Romances I have ever read, as well as her other two - His Fair Lady and Shades of the Past. Well, I have now made the connection that Anita Gordon and Kathleen Kirkwood are on in the same, which only impresses me even more with her talent and the historical strength of her tales. And His Fair Lady is Kirkwood, um Gordon, at her very best. She brings forth the splendor, the richness of the Medieval period that is so lacking in a lot of Historical writing today, with such loving care you are mesmerized by the story. So much heart! I am hoping to see more from this writer - whatever name she chooses to use!
Sir Royce de Warren was just a squire when he faced the horrors of warfare - a village nearly destroyed, burnt, the bodies strewn about. He rescues a beautiful orphan and turns her over to a peasant couple, who vow to love and raise her as their own. Before leaving the child, he gives her his silver cross, in hopes to see her safe through life. Through the years, he has never forgotten the child's haunting green eyes.
Years later, after fighting in the Crusades, Royce returns to England. On the heels of his homecoming, he learns he made a terrible mistake that night so many years ago. The young child he left with the peasant couple, was not of the village but was nobility, and buy not finding out where she truly belonged she has been robbed of her true birthright, as Lady Juliana Mandeville, and sole heiress to the family. He promises her dying grandfather, he will find Juliana and restore her to her true station in life.
Juliana, now called Ana, has grown into a beautiful, spirited young woman. A woman about to be married, when Royce arrives and carries her off, literally from the church steps! When the handsome knight comes to her with the story of her real birth, she does not believe him. This man who stands before her is a hardened warrior. He little resembles the beautiful young man who bravely saved her years ago. But the silver cross is the link between them. In her heart, Juliana has never given up hope the gallant young knight of her dreams, would one day return for her, but she is unprepared for this man, and little recalls the trauma of that horrible night or her life before.
Kirkwood, gives you a strong story that pulls at the heart. It's laced with adventure and humor and such fine period detail, that this is a winner from beginning to end. Especially strong in Multi-POV (Point of View) allowing the reader to so richly feel the emotions, pain and love of both characters.
Also, was glad to see Kirkwood not go for the stereotypical portrayal of King John, but gave a more balanced view.