Feb 4 2008
Dear Mrs Townend,
As I’ve said in other reviews, these days it takes something different to interest me in a medieval. A new twist on an old plot, unique character traits for a knight or his lady or, glory be, something totally out of the ordinary. When you offered me a copy of your latest book “An Honorable Rogue,” the Breton setting caught my fancy. As I began to read it, the working class hero and heroine cemented my interest. Mix in a road romance crossed with a friends-turned-lovers and I got a book that held my attention and seemingly took no time at all to read.
Mistress Rozenn Kerber was a refreshing change from the feisty, foot stamping heroines who seem to inhabit medieval romances of late. Even her name is a nice change from endless Isabeaus. And no swords for this woman who’s far more comfortable wielding her needle as she creates beautiful clothes and wall hangings. Her desire for a settled home makes sense in light of the fact that she was a foundling and sets up a realistic conflict to be worked out with the wandering man she finds she loves. She was practical in her first marriage and plans to be so in her second until she discovers that her dream marriage to a knight might not be all she can hope for. I like that she doesn’t have any silly notions of holding out for ‘twue love’ the second go round. Love does find her but she’s not going to waste her life waiting for it.
Benedict Silvester really is an honorable rogue. He’s also charming and personable as a man would need to be who makes his living as a traveling minstrel. But he takes the time to assure Rose that he’d never hurt her and never abandon her. He does little things for her that show his affection more than empty words. And he agonizes over the situation he’s had to set up in order to accomplish his mission for the Duke of Brittany. Then only when he finally thinks he can provide what he believes she wants does he try for her hand. I loved that he took the time to find out how she wanted to be wooed, even down to figuring out that the chain mail wouldn’t work.
I also want to thank you for not inserting any faux medieval dialogue!! Oh God, thank you. The everyday facts of medieval life and life in these Breton towns is nicely worked into the story as well. I didn’t feel as if you were forcing every interesting fact that you discovered into the book. Instead they served to bring color and flavor to what I was reading. I was a bit confused over why it had to be such an effort for Ben to go to England. Wouldn’t his usual cover story of being a minstrel be enough to go visit an old friend? I did like that the book didn’t get taken over by whatever intrigue was involved with the letter he was carrying for the Duke. There wouldn’t have been enough time to fully delve into that as well as tell the romance and I think you did well not to get bogged down with that.
Thanks again for sending me this all the way from England. I enjoyed the British English word spellings as well as meeting Rose and Ben. B for “An Honorable Rogue.”