Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Music for my Soul by Lauren Linwood

As the third wife of an abusive French vineyard owner, Madeleine Bouchard hasn’t produced the expected heir after three years of marriage. Fearing he plans to kill her, she flees during a trip to England. Unable to make her way home, she joins a troupe of traveling mummers and reinvents herself as the only woman troubadour in the land, captivating audiences with both song and story. 

Nobleman Garrett Montayne’s fascination with Madeleine causes him to pay the troupe to bypass their next stop in order to journey to his estate. Though he suspects Madeleine of being a thief with dark secrets, love blossoms between them under the magical moon of summer solstice. 

But Madeleine’s past is about to catch up with her, as her husband is set to arrive to conduct business with Garrett. Madeleine determines to free herself from her loveless marriage and make a new life with Garrett, no matter what the cost.

Published & Release Date: Soul Mate Publishing, May 14, 2013

Time and setting: Medieval England 1346  

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: 1

Rating: 4 Gold Crowns

Reviewed by Vikki

I found this book using the Kindle Unlimited program. I am so glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed this remarkable and compelling story. It is not an easy story to read, since it deals with adultery, something that skirts what is traditionally acceptable in a medieval historical romance, but Ms. Linwood handles the subject with a masterful touch.

The story drew me in from the first page as Madeleine flees her abusive husband, whom she is convinced plans to kill her, since she had not conceived in the three years of their marriage. On her long trudge down the road, she gets a small stone in her shoe and she sits down in the middle of the road to remove. When she hears the sound of horses, she scurried to the side of the road, but she forgets her lute and runs out to retrieve it. Two men see her, thinking they are highwaymen, she bravely tells them: “If you dare come closer, I’ll bring my lute crashing down upon your heads.”
She quickly realizes they are gentlemen by their manner of dress and the dark one’s impervious attitude, definitely not highway men. She tells them she is Lady Montayne, not knowing that the dark one is none other than Lord Montayne. She makes up an outrageous story of men who waylaid her and her husband’s valet who was escorting her to their London residence, knocking the valet unconscious.

Intrigued by this brazen woman, Garrett introduces himself as Sir Garrett and offers to escort her to London, but along the way she escapes. She meets up with a troupe of traveling mummers and joins them, becoming their troubadour. When she crosses paths with Lord Montayne again, he offers the troupe a great deal of money to come to his estate and perform for the upcoming summer solstice.  
Once the troupe arrives at the estate, the pacing of the story slowed down a bit, and I found myself looking at what percentage I had read, giving the story a bit of a sagging middle. Fortunately, the pacing picks back up at around, and I again couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. There are moments that are so heart-breakingly poignant that they brought tears to my eye. I became fully invested in the characters, and even though at one point, I could not imagine how they were ever going to have their “Happily Ever After”, I kept rooting for them.

There are very few sexual scenes in this book, but it’s filled with plenty of great sexual tension. At times, it is so thick you can cut it with a knife. My heart ached for Madeleine because she wants to be with Garrett so badly, but will not give into temptation. Of course they eventually do, and it is a highly emotionally charged scene to say the least.

I absolutely love how this book ends. I was so relieved when Garrett and Madeleine do at last have their HEA, after having so many obstacles put in their path. Of course, that is what I love about romance. It is what I expect and this book delivers it in a very satisfying way. If you enjoy a story filled with passion and sexual tension, then this is a book you will definitely want to read. Happy reading!    

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