Thursday, July 07, 2005

Review- Lord of the Mist

Finished Ann Lawrence's Lord of the Mist a few days ago. Cristina le Gros, wife of Simon, is wet nurse to Durand de Marle's motherless daughter. Cristina, married to a social climbing, greedy man, loves her little charge & carries her everywhere- even while collecting the herbs & flowers she uses to make into lotions & creams & medical ointments. Durand meanwhile, knowing he & his deceased wife Marion had not had sex, becomes suspicious of all of the men in his keep. Who is Felice's father? How can he move beyond jealousy of this unknown man & maintain the friendship with & the loyalty of his men?

Swirling around this difficult problem, are several layers of personal & political intrigue. Will Durand be able to walk the tightrope of loyalty between King John & King Philip of France? Can he win back the manors he lost & so provide for his sons & his brother? Who will John try to force him to marry? As for Cristina, she must deal with territorial doctors, arrogant noblewomen, & a husband who berates her for not giving him a son. Plus a request for a fertiltiy potion & a smelly ointment to retard hairloss. Why does Durand ignore his daughter? How can she keep her husband happy, give him a son & feed Felice while Durand requires Cristina & Simon to live apart?

Both main characters are fully realized, actual people true to the time period they live in. Cristina accepts her lot as wife while trying to nurture a small business & resigns herself to a hostile & belittling husband. Durand has a lot happening in his life right now & his lust for his daughter's married wetnurse bothers him, but there's so much else he needs to take care of that he can't fully act on his desires immediately. I really appreciated that Durand acknowleges his part in his wife's unhappiness & he realizes that his jealousy achieves nothing & probably hurts him. As for Cristina, her loyalty to her fickle husband is admirable & well explained, but nonetheless grates a bit. However, she too is shown to have her strengths as well as her foibles.

This is one of the best medieval romances I've read in quite some time. The love scenes are hot, the characters are true to period & the unusual twist at the end makes this one a keeper for me.

1 comment:

Tara Marie said...

Like the new look, very nice.