REVIEW: Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram
How I wish she’d written more books. I’d read posts touting Red Adam’s Lady and due to the generosity of another Avid Reader (thanks Keishon!), I got my hands on a copy of it. Depending on how readers like their realism, this one might be worth it though. It really gives a *you are there in the cesspool of a medieval hold* feeling. But it has humor and a great hero to balance that out.
Julitta de Montrigord is the daughter of a younger son and was raised on the tourney circuit in Europe until her father’s death when she was placed in a nunnery and then cast on the charity of her stingy uncle. She’s been ill treated by men her whole life and frankly doesn’t see much good in any of them. But she’s a realist and knows that her future will either be with a man her uncle picks for her or back in the convent. However, when faced with a forced marriage to Adam de Lorismond, she actually thinks life as a poor dependent in a convent might not be a bad idea.
Her first encounter with her beloved takes place when she’s on her way back to her uncle’s hold and has to stop in a village ale house while her horse is reshod. It’s there that she meets a very drunk Adam and three of his buddies, all sloshed to the gills, and gets mistaken for a strumpet. Adam invokes his *right of the lord* and hauls her off, thrown over his shoulder, back to his keep and upstairs into his bedchamber. Where she whacks him upside the head with a stool and ties him to the bedpost. When he comes to, Adam realizes his mistake and is determined to make things right. He offers marriage and Julitta’s politically minded uncle, who wants Adam on his side for a proposed uprising in favor of King Henry’s eldest son, agrees.
Now Julitta is stuck with a man she sees as a grinning fool, in a slovenly keep whose chatelaine let it go to hell in a handcart over the past few years while treason swirls in the air and there is danger of the gawdawful Scots coming over the border at any time. Just what any 17 year old dreams of for her married life. But Red Adam is determined to prove to his heart’s delight that she might not know all there is to know about men in general and him in particular.
Julitta starts out as a bit of a prickly pear. She’s been tossed around her whole life and not been valued by any man so it’s not surprising that she views Adam with skepticism, especially considering how they first met. It takes her a long time to warm to him but I found it more believable than if she had fallen head long in love at first sight. Watching her begin to set her new home in order gives a great view of the life and duties of a castle lady of the time. Don’t let your kitchen maids turn to slatterns, keep your rushes swept to avoid an infestation of fleas, make sure you have plenty of wood ash boiled with urine to make lye to scour the floors if you do, at all costs, keep your kitchen free of entrails and be sure your scullions don’t piss in the cook pots.
Red Adam is fun. He’s a reformed rogue who cheerfully admits to his wild oat sowing. But in Julitta he’s found the woman of his dreams and he won’t stop til he’s won her heart as well as her hand. He’s also a man wise beyond his years from his own hard upbringing and he’s determined to hold to what is his at all costs. What I really loved about him is the vulnerability of his heart and his belief that a lord is truly responsible for the welfare of his dependents.
There is a slight mystery which is fairly easily solved and some of the secondary characters, especially the nobles, are a bit two dimensional but Ingram really showed the hardships of daily living in the time and the horror that can happen when things go truly wrong. I thought the she also did a good job in showing the relationships between the peasants and the nobility (pretty darn one sided).
There isn’t much sensuality here (kisses for the most part) but I had a fun time reading about Red Adam and his Lady. B+
Your gonna make me search for my copy of this book. I hadn’t read it yet. Off to search for it in one of several boxes around here. Great review, as usual.
I wish I had a scanner and could put the cover art up. For once, the cover artist got everything correct. So look for it, Keishon. I think you’ll like it.
While I was here, I had to comment on this one. It is one of my most beloved historical romances, in memory at least. I lent out my copy and never got it back! The person, generally honorable, said she didn’t have it, but she has rooms full of books and I’m sure it must be there somewhere.
Perhaps I’ll do a raid.
This is one book I wish would be rereleased in print or ebook format. I hope you find your copy Jo.
Red Adam’s Lady is my favorite historical romance. But my second favorite historical novel also was written by Grace Ingam, Gilded Spurs. It is the story of a young man, a bastard, whose dream of being a knight suddenly becomes possible when his real father, a baron, claims him as his son. The story is set in the 1100’s, earlier than Red Adam’s Lady. There is an underlying theme of redemption which is not heavy handed. The story line is well-plotted and the characters are very believable. And you can actually find this book for sale at affordable prices.
Maria, I’ve always meant to get a copy of Gilded Spurs. I’ve always meant to do a lot of things but your post has spured me on!
Red Adam’s Lady has been a great source of inspiration! As has Gilded Spurs. I couldn’t agree more about wanting to read more of Grace’s Ingram’s work. She did publish a couple of other books under another name, but for the life of me I can’t recall it. Dorothy ??? Perhaps it will come back to me, but I have never managed to get hold of those other books. A wonderful, strong writer.
Grace Ingram’s real name is Doris Sutcliffe Adams. All of her books are out of print and hard to come by. They are well worth it if you can find them.
Sylvia, thanks for the information. I just checked and — ye Gods! — you’re right about the prices for her books. I’ll have to check and see if any library has got them.
How many books are there by this author in her 2 incarnations?
I believe the total is 5. Two as Grace Ingram and three as Doris Sutcliff Adams.
Red Adams Lady is my very favorite historical romance. I read it first in 1976 and many times since. I am currently reading it again and have to be very careful because the pages are yellowed and the soft cover binding fragile. But I love visiting with dearly beloved old friends.
The only other Grace Ingram novel I ever read was about a young woman who took the persona of a knight. I don’t remember the name of the book; I do remember she eventually met a young man who had taken the persona of a woman and they got together; but it was in no way comparable to Red Adams Lady and I did not keep the book.
My biggest distraction while reading Red Adams Lady is Ms. Ingrams pervasive use of $3 words. I am now a 50 year old professional and STILL come across words I am not familiar with in this book. However, the characters are so bright and alive, the story line so tight and scintillating, that I breeze right past the big words and my pea brain fills in the blanks with 50 cent words!
Other obscure historical romances I found and fell in love with long ago include “The Rainbow Season” by Lisa Gregory (which can still be found on Amazon.com at a reasonable price and is to me, a priceless gem) and “Sunset Embrace” by Sandra Brown. It is the first in the Coleman Family Sagas and the only one that ever really captivated me. It is also still available.
I never ran across anyone else that had read Red Adams Lady. It’s nice to see this book get some of the accolades it so richly deserves.
Connie, not many people have had the pleasure of reading any of Ms. Ingram’s books under either name. You either can’t find them or the price is outrageous. I can see why you take such care with your beloved copy!
Hi, I accidentally found this page by doing a google search for books by Grace Ingram. I too wondered if anyone else had read these wonderful books. I’ve had “Red Adam’s Lady” and “Gilded Spurs” on my bookshelf for years, reading them many times. I was fortunate to be able to borrow a copy of “The Price of Blood” from the Clevenet Library System (Cleveland, Ohio area) this week. Basically 9th century English vs. Vikings. Lots of historic detail as usual. From today’s search I see that under Doris S. Adams, she has also written “No Man’s Son”, “Power of Darkness” and “Desert Leopard”. I’d sure like to read those as well!
Thanks for letting me comment.–Lynne
Hi Lynne, glad you dropped by and joined us. I just tried looking up “Desert Leopard” and couldn’t believe the price for the one copy listed. Too rich for my blood! ;)
Red Adam’s Lady is one of my very favorites. I have my husband looking for a hardbound one for my birthday. My poor paperback is in sad shape. I have read most of her works having started looking for them after finding the first one many years ago. I realy wish she had written more. I am intrigued about the plot described above (The only other Grace Ingram novel I ever read was about a young woman who took the persona of a knight. I don't remember the name of the book; I do remember she eventually met a young man who had taken the persona of a woman and they got together) since none of the ones I have read have that plot and I have read all the titles listed. does anyone have a title for this?
Mary B Arizona
Maybe Connie knows the title. Since Red Adam’s Lady is the only Ingram/Adams book I’ve ever read, I can’t help you here.
I SO AGREE WITH ALL THE ABOVE COMMENTS. RED ADAM’S LADY IS MY FAVOURITE HISTORICAL NOVEL. MY COPY IS SO WORN AND SHABBY. HER RESEARCH IS FANTASTIC. I LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT THE PERIOD, SHE MAKES IT SO REAL. I HAVN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET GILDED SPURS YE BUT I’M STILL LOOKING.
I wish her books would be reissued or issued as ebooks. There’s a whole audience of readers I just know would love RA’sL. I wonder who owns the rights to her books?
This is a good question about the rights to Ingram’s books, under whatever name published. Red Adam’s Lady is cr 1972 and was published by Stein and Day of NY. The publisher filed for bankruptcy in 1987. They apparently shut down in 1988. Now, somebody got the publication rights they owned when they declared bankruptcy. That would have been an asset distributed by the Trustee. But it would be difficult to track that now–unless you have access to the Bankruptcy Court records. And even then, it probably wouldn’t be fun. I’ve tried to find information about the author to see if she has died (I suspect she must have done so as she was ill about 15 years ago). But her estate must hold the rights to her works. At the time RAL was written, the CR would be running at “life of the author plus 50 years.” So the works are all still covered by copyright as far as I can tell.
@Maria: Elizabeth Chadwick* might know as she’d shared some information on AAR boards a few years ago (loads of Grace Ingram fans there).
(*I don’t remember *which* Elizabeth Chadwick, though, as there are two historical novelists with this name. Perhaps I misremembered as there might be a different spelling, but I used to refer them as American Chadwick and British Chadwick. Heh.)
Fascinating to find that the lure of this book still holds after SO many decades! I was just telling my daughter (19) this book which I and my mom read about 25 years ago was such a fine piece of historical fiction/romance. I am now trying to get my own copy and lure her into reading it.
@Maili: I would think it’s the British Chadwick who would know something about Ingram.
@Deborah Notter: I was looking at prices recently and saw some for under $20 US. Which is not bad for this book. Check some of the online UBS. There are a lot listed from the UK and France (though the book is English language).
Power of Darkness published under Doris Sutcliffe Adams had two paperback editions in the US but it is still htf.
My local library has a hard cover copy and I check it out every so often to make sure that it doesn’t get pulled due to lack of circulation.
@DS: LOL, the copy that I have is a former library one. Now I wish there was a copy of “No Man’s Son” somewhere that I could check out.
Thanks to all of you for your posts. It is fascinating to read that this author and her book “Red Adam’s Lady” are favorites for all of you. This is my favorite. I think I’ve purchased it 3 times over the last 30 years. Foolishly gave it to Goodwill once, then found it again and then actually found another copy I gave to a friend. I’m grateful to know some history of the author and some other novels. I’ll be looking for them. On Amazon they are hundreds of dollars.
@Sylvi I’ve got two copies now. One a friend found for me and one I saw (fairly) cheaply (for it) online and I splurged.
I have Red Adams Lady and it is my absolute favorite historical. I had the Knight something or the other and loaned it. It never came back. I do have No Man’s Son. I found it in a book dump of print overruns and bought it for a dollar many years ago. It is my second favorite historical. It is amazing and well worth the money. It had an intrepid heroine as well as a great hero who was lethal yet intelligent. I would love to get copies of her other books.
I also LOVED Red Adam’s Lady and reread it until I lost the book. I bought it new when it first came out.
I would love to be able to get it in ebook, but I just checked Amazon and almost had a heart attack!!! over $1000 for a new copy??? I didn’t know she had written anything else and would love to read some of the other books. I HAD looked for her name online and never found it before. I searched for “Red Adam’s Lady” this time and at least found that much. I’ve always enjoyed historical books and this was the first one I’d read that wasn’t a regency, so it was really different for me.
@Ginny Sherer: I just checked at Amazon and the paperback price of “Red Adam’s Lady” isn’t *too* bad. The price of “Gilded Spurs” is pretty darn good. After an online check – the prices of 2 of her Doris Sutcliffe Adams books look as if they’ve started to creep up again and “No Man’s Son” is way out there. I’d love to have a copy of it but not at what people are charging now.
@Sylvia: hi all came across these reviews on here,I had the plesure of knowing doris I was her gardener for 5 years,a very good writer and woman,I am fortunate enough to have all her books and a signed first edition of red adams lady,sadly ive not read it as yet lol but one day.
when I moved to were I live now she was in the process of writing further books but that was back in 1990.
last I heard she had a bad fall and her family put her in a old peoples home which bless her she said she’d rather throw herself of beaches head a true friend and sadly missed