>> Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Walnut Springs Press
Published Jan 17, 2012
Trade paperback, 372 pages
Joyce DiPastena sure knows how to spin a good medieval romance tale. This was fun to read. Espionage, betrayal, loyalty and love are some of the themes that run through this novel, including some of the characters from her previous two books. It was a great novel to escape into, with chivalrous knights, romantic misunderstandings, a grand jousting tournament, political intrigue, and a villain whose madness gave me goosebumps.
The story centers around Mathilde, a dreamy young woman whose family has been reduced to poverty because of an allegation that her father stole from the king. She is convinced she can help her family by marrying a rich man with connections who can help prove her father's innocence. She meets the Lord Therri, a golden-haired gorgeous man who sets her head spinning, but it's the dark knight Etienne, poor and from a disgraced family who pays her attention and makes her heart beat faster.
I was caught up with the story right from the very beginning. Mathilde ends up giving the embroidered ribbon in her hair as a favor to Etienne who ties it around his arm as a symbol that he jousts in the tournament for her. That small piece of cloth sets in motion a chain of events that puts Mathilde's life in danger. Although there is plenty of medieval intrigue and danger, DiPastena knows how to infuse humour into her well-conceived plot. The medieval jargon and Etienne's witty remarks made me smile. The friendship between Therri and Etienne was great with their male bantering and teasing. Mathilde started as an innocent dreamy girl and quickly learned to take action to help her family that took strength of character and courage.
This is the second book I read from DiPastena, and I liked it even more than the first. Her characters were flawed and real, with the romance flourishing but not at the expense of a fantastic plot. DiPastena created a wonderful and colorful cast of characters that stood out. I could easily picture the story as a movie in my head. This was a clean romance with lots of action and plenty of intrigue to keep the pages turning until the satisfying end. I can't wait to see what other tale DiPastena will spin for us next!
Note: This book is rated C = clean read.
I will count this book toward the following challenges: I Love Italy Reading Challenge (Joyce DiPastena is an author of Italian origin.)
Reviewed by Laura
Disclosure: Thanks to Amy Orton from Walnut Springs Press for sending me this book for review. I was not compensated in any other way, nor told how to rate or review this product.