REVIEW: The Conquered Heart by Denee Cody
Dear Ms Cody,
Medievals are tricky for me to like. Will the heroine be some sword yielding anachronism? Is the hero either a wimp or a thug? Am I going to feel like I’m reading about contemporary characters only dressed in wimples and chain mail? And then there’s the all important ick factor. Can an author make me feel like I’m there without grossing me out?
Set mainly in Ireland during 1170/71, TCH is the story of Richard, the English Earl of Pembroke who has come to fight for Henry II of England’s claim to the land and the Irish Princess he marries, Eve.
Eve’s father, a minor Irish King, has been deposed from his throne and allied himself with Richard for arms and men to help him regain his position. Richard will marry Eve and gain control of Eve’s land, Leinster. Both are resigned to the dynastic marriage. Richard thinks to soon bring his English mistress to live with him and Eve knows that Richard is the best hope to end the wars which have ravaged her beloved land and people. Neither expects or looks for love.
Richard soon learns that Eve is a woman of spirit and determination. Her honor is as important to her as his is to him. And he realizes that he will have to work to earn her trust and cooperation. Something he’ll need in order to win the allegiance of the people he’s come to rule. Eve finds Richard a man of integrity and honor. Something she’s not used to from her scheming, sometimes violent father. Slowly they begin to come together and start to trust each other. Richard finds Ireland a land of beauty and Eve a woman of courage who is more than his equal and Eve finds that there is a man who she can build a life with and maybe come to love. But to claim what they find in their hearts and the land they both love, they’ll have to do battle with another Irish King, King Henry of England and a scheming woman who is determined to have the throne for her son.
You do a good job of setting us in Medieval Ireland. The descriptions are wonderful and show the people and the land. I’d classify you as a middle of the road Medieval writer: we get a feel for the times but don’t see every flea bite and privy.
Richard is a great hero. One who is determined to win a place for himself in the land he’s coming to see as home. He can also reel Eve back in once she’s flown off the handle again. Eve tends to do that. Act first then think but she will stop to think in the end and also to talk with Richard. Thereby avoiding tons of potential misunderstandings. That was refreshing to read. I liked Richard better than Eve though as he was still a bit more willing to compromise and didn’t have that Irish temper.
Most of the secondary characters are well done and there is a lovely secondary romance for one of Richard’s Welsh knights and Eve’s cousin. Eve’s father was a bastard and the Evil Villainess was mainly a stock character. One great addition was Eve’s Irish Wolfhound, Ban. Not a Russian one like mine, alas, but close enough. I enjoyed my introduction to you and am looking forward to reading more of your books. This one ends as a B.