Feb 22 2007
Dear Ms Cornick,
Wow, my historical cup doth runneth over. So far this year I’ve read two books set in ancient Rome and two during the reigns of the 17th century Charleses. Thanks again for sending me a copy of this book. I usually don’t miss at least trying a Harlequin Historical that isn’t set during the Regency. I don’t know where I was on this one since the Restoration Era is another favorite of mine.
Four years ago Lady Anne of Grafton and Simon, Lord Greville were engaged to be married. Both families were pleased and, despite not really knowing each other, Anne and Simon were both cautiously optimistic that theirs would at least be a marriage of passion if not love. Then the political differences between the King and his parliament boiled over into Civil War, tearing the country and families apart. Now, on the eve of battle, Simon finds himself besieging the manor and people which were once promised to him by his betrothal. For Simon has followed his conscience and pledged himself to Cromwell thus going against even his own father while Anne and her father have remained true to their oath of loyalty to King Charles I.
Grafton Manor is a prize that Parliament wants and Simon and his troops have been laying siege to it for weeks. Hoping against hope, Anne makes a last ditch effort to avoid the destruction and bloodshed by sneaking out of the manor to plead with Simon to call off the attack. When that effort fails, the battle ensues the next day. After the dust settles and the dead are buried, Anne and Simon find themselves only beginning their own personal standoff. For Simon wants not only the rich estate of Grafton but also the heart of its mistress. Anne would be happy to agree to their marriage if only her oath to her King and the treasure he entrusted to her care didn’t stand in her way. And while Simon admires her spirit and her loyalty, he can’t allow those to thwart him.
Thank you for giving us two people who have genuine reasons to be in opposition to each other despite their personal feelings. This is an era when a man’s sacred honor rested in his word and no man gave it lightly. Since Anne was her father’s only child and had been raised by him to take over the administration of the manor that was her heritage, her word and her oath were as binding as a man’s, something I was delighted to see Simon appreciate and respect. The fact that Anne was also the King’s goddaughter only added to her reasons for staying true to her oath. I also like the fact that Simon principles have already been tested for four years, ever since he felt he had to go against his father. Both have tremendous stakes involved and as such, I could understand them refusing to give in to the other for most of the course of the book.
Brava for including the viewpoint of the common people involved in the conflict. The lords were the ones with the fine principles but it was the little people who bore the brunt of the fighting and destruction. It also makes sense that they’re going to feel pulled towards the ones they feel will protect them and theirs despite their loyalty to their long-standing masters.
I think you did a good job showing us characters who appear to think and act as 17th people would. Yes, there were class differences and political differences and these things were important and respected. Anne would feel it her duty to protect those under her care just as Simon would feel insulted if anyone questioned the fact that he was a gentleman and raised to behave as one.
What didn’t work as well for me was the two dimensional villain and Anne’s eight week loss of consciousness after being shot. Medically, could someone have survived that long in those days without eating? And what would have caused it since she didn’t have a brain injury? Sorry, it’s my medical training kicking in here in disbelief. And while I like the take-no-prisoners character portrayed by Simon’s father and think he really fits image I have of noblemen of those days, he kind of devolves into a deus ex machina used to get Simon and Anne back together for good.
Overall, I really enjoyed this story and these characters you created. If not for the niggles at the end, my grade would be higher. B- for “Lord Greville’s Captive.”