Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Sword for His Lady by Mary Wine

Publisher & Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, July 7, 2015  

Time and setting: 1189, England

Genre: Historical Romance/Medieval Romance

Length: 350 pages

Heat Level: 1 Scorching Hot Flame

Rating: 3.5 Gold Crowns

Book Description:

He'd defend her keep...
After proving himself on the field of battle, Ramon de Segrave is appointed to the Council of Barons by Richard the Lionheart. But instead of taking his most formidable warrior on his latest Crusade, the king assigns Ramon an even more dangerous task-woo and win the Lady of Thistle Keep.
If only she'd yield her heart
Isabel of Camoys is a capable widow with no intention of surrendering her valuable estate. She's fought long and hard for her independence, and if the price is loneliness, then so be it. She will not yield...even if she does find the powerful knight's heated embrace impossible to ignore.
But when her land is threatened, Isabel reluctantly agrees to allow Ramon and his army to defend the keep-knowing that the price may very well be her heart.
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Vikki’s Musings

A Sword for His Lady is the first book I have read by Mary Wine. I received this novel from the publisher via Net-Galley in exchange for an honest review. There is no doubt Ms. Wine did her research for this story. Her descriptive writing brought this long ago time to life. I was sent back to that time where men were chivalrous and women were to be placed on a pedestal and admired at a distance. A lady was expected to obey her father, and then later when she married, her husband.

Ramon De Segrave is a trusted servant of the king, Richard the Lionheart. When Richard makes him a baron and gives him lands adjoining Thistle Keep and the Wales border, he accepts his new mission. Although the king wants him to marry Isabel of Camoys, he pushes back, and Richard does not command that he do so.

Isabel of Camoys is a widow and very content to remain one. Even though Ramon quickly proves he is a much better man than her late husband, she still fears giving up her freedom to another man no matter how kind and caring he seems.

Once Ramon meets Isabel, he is smitten and is determined to win his fair lady’s heart. Will his patience convince Isabel that he is not only a man to be trusted, but also the keeper of her heart?

The story started out well, and I immediately liked Ramon. He’s a brave warrior, a man loyal to his king and a champion of fair ladies. Everything I love and expect in a medieval hero. Unfortunately, I never felt I learned enough about him to fall in love with his character. I did like his gentle and caring treatment of Isabel, and he uses his intellect as well as his brawn to thwart the villain.

Isabel is fairly typical for a woman of her times. She received a bad deal from her first husband, so it’s no wonder she hesitates at first when she learns the king has sent Ramon to protect her lands and wants her to marry the man. However, once the villain comes around and even kidnaps her, she still hesitates after Ramon rescues her. That irritated me. Over all, I never warmed up to Isabel’s character.

As the story unfolded, I found myself flipping through sections that were a bit tedious to read. This book definitely has a sagging middle. However, the pace does pick up toward the end again. The plot seemed a bit superficial and the characters lacked any true depth. The villain’s character was actually quite one-dimensional, and his actions are completely predictable. There were no surprises and as I read, it was if I were watching from the sidelines.

Nonetheless, A Sword for His Lady is very well-written and gave me a great sense of time and place. This is a good book for anyone who enjoys a slowly developing love story, especially if you love the medieval period of history. Ms. Wine paints a realistic picture of Richard the Lionheart as a detached ruler only interested in the funds for his crusades, a man who rarely spent any time in England. I read some of the other reviews so there are plenty of other readers who loved this book, you may as well. Reading is subjective and what one person loves another may find just okay. That was the case for me. Happy reading! 

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