Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Autumn's Flame by Denise Domning

Tuesday talk? Well not really, it's yet another review of one of my recent reads, squeezed in between my heavier research reading. 

From time to time I buy a copy ( or get one when it's on a FREE day as this one was) of a new-to-me author that's flagged up by an author I do know from my blog or from Facebook. This is the first time I've read any of Denise Domning's work and I may try her work again in the future. 

This was an entertaining, quickly read, well edited romance which begins in the England of 1194 when rules governing what a woman could do were very strict. It might have seemed the ideal time for some women when a detested husband died, but not so. If pregnant, the widow had to be the ward of the local sheriff till the babe was born- the Normans having their finances, and potential heirs, at the forefront of importance! This aspect of Norman law was new to me; I must have missed reading about this before though medieval England has never yet been my main study area. The plot doesn’t vary much from other Medieval romances that I’ve read, but the writing was engaging enough to keep the interest going throughout the story.
I warmed sufficiently well to Geoffrey FitzHenry, Lord Coudray, the maimed yet still devastating hero  - though I was a bit confused about who were the legitimate of the four sons of the father/mother in this story and brothers to Geoff. It didn’t matte though because Geoff’s brothers are all lovely with very non-traditional wives.  

However, I found that the ‘firebrand’ Elyssa, heroine of the story, takes a bit of getting used to. Her smothering mother hen nature and ready tendency to weeping for me didn’t quite match with her desire for independence. There were many instances when I thought that something was a bit difficult to swallow, like the transformation of Jocelyn from complete wimpy mother’s pet (though already a devious manipulator) to a strong and wonderfully competent page boy who becomes one of the heroes of the siege of the tower house where Elyssa and her women have taken flight- after taking up arms to defend the walls. 

I gave this 3 and 1/2 stars on Amazon and Goodreads. 


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