I wasn’t far into this, my first E-book, when I realized uncomfortably that I was reading my own biography.
I dare say : So say we all as women. The good news is that things are better for us since medieval times, slightly. Not that
I don’t always consider myself at least the equal of the most celebrated of males. The difference is that some males,
bless them, haven’t a clue that anything has changed since and we are doomed to suffer their insensitivity. As one of
the talented Ms. Shields’ characters would say, "Alas and alack!"
I am a hopeless romantic and a fanatical history buff. Ms. Shields took me willing and eagerly back to Ivanhoe’s
day without the dreary drone of my high school Literature teacher’s comments. Her characters were well drawn and believable
fairy tale folk. Her story was indeed fairy tale in nature or in the words of one of her characters, "‘Tis like a story
with fairies and hateful godmothers it is." In another’s, "A story of old."
Having said that and even so, the opening of the story was so drenched in evil that I was most uncomfortable.
People were in stark black and white, good or evil. Has this talented writer never heard the words: there is so much bad in
the best of us and so much good in the worst of us, etc.? A bit like poor Cinderella who never seemed to have a chance --
unlike Red Riding Hood or Goldilocks. Yet there was a sophistication in the imagination of the writer. That young woman at
the beginning who had the wonderful idea that sexual intercourse did not lead to pregnancy had other thoughts that were too
on target not to be more knowledgeable.
Aside from a few typos and other minor errors which were only noted as a reviewer and would never bother
a serious reader’s concentration, it was a story well told. At times I thought the writer so much better at making the
plot complex enough to hold interest than other writers that she must surely be toying with us. I snickered with her, when
she came out of the era and locale to say, in very diverse sections, such out of sync words as: "poor kid", "bad cold", "checking"
and "yeah". However, the epitome of this was "So much for humility and keeping a low profile".
Enough about history, let’s get to the yummy romance portion. As a voyeur I’d starve to death.
I like sex on a personal level and have no desire to observe, hear or read of it second hand. Thus I am more comfortable with
romantic scenes that fade to the imagination. If I enjoyed reading of sexual encounters this story’s would be included
in my favorites. It is well handled…nay, superbly done. In fact an excellent teaching/learning experience…ah,
back to my biography …I wish! With the prior disclaimer, the first love scene was again the epitome of well done and
the subsequent repetitiveness of the same pushed the envelope, so to speak. Perhaps it is icing on the cake for readers of
this genre who do so because they enjoy the specifics of sex but for others like myself it was wasted.
The excellent writing of this author included descriptions such as the one used to compare one companion’s
closeness to another , "like a burr on a dog". A good story that held my interest as the plot turned in diverse direction
one moment ahead of much that was predictable.