Author: Emily Murdoch
Series Number: 1
Publication Date: August 12, 2013
Genres: Historical fiction, romance
Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from the author as part of a book tour.
Summary: England, 1069.
The nation is still recovering from the Norman invasion three years earlier – and adjusting to life under its sometimes brutal new rulers.
A young girl trembles in the shadows of what was once her home.
Avis is homeless and penniless, and with no family left alive she is forced to become a ward of Richard, the Norman lord who has taken her home. But when King William decrees that Norman lords must marry Anglo-Saxon women Avis must make a terrible choice.
Either marry the repulsive Richard or take a else chance on another Norman, Melville, a man she has never met.
Soon she realises that survival in a time of turmoil and war depends of putting aide the prejudices of the past And if she can do so, kingdoms and hearts can still be among her ‘Conquests’.
Emily Murdoch is a medieval historian and writer. Throughout her career so far she has examined a codex and transcribed medieval sermons at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, designed part of an exhibition for the Yorkshire Museum, worked as a researcher for a BBC documentary presented by Ian Hislop, and worked at Polesden Lacey with the National Trust. She has a degree in History and English, and a Masters in Medieval Studies, both from the University of York. Emily has a medieval series and a Regency novella series published, and is currently working on several new projects.
this book met so many high expectations in terms of historical accuracy. i don’t read a lot of historical novels because i find them inaccurate and hard to get through. (i’m a huge lover of history, which is why accuracy is a big deal for me). i loved how clear it is that the author has done her research into both the anglo saxon and norman cultures. random anglo saxon words were inserted into the book every once in a while (and translated, of course), but it felt really wrong and forced as it didn’t happen very often. (i think if there was more of it, it would’ve flowed better and been really cool. i do appreciate the research the author has put into the book and the languages, however.)
considering this book is a romance, you’d expect many sex scenes. i truly wasn’t expecting there to be a lack of in this novel, but i’m glad as i think they would’ve disrupted the flow of the novel. the romance itself i found was a huge let down. melville and avis hate each other due to him being normal and her being anglo saxon, but every time they have an argument they suddenly feel attracted to the other???? i personally don’t like this as it promotes the idea that fighting = love, when it should be the opposite. this could be because i don’t read a lot of romance, but it really did bother me and i feel the need to mention it.
avis is the heroine of the story. i had this continuous love-hate relationship with her. there were a couple times when her actions made no sense to me and felt like something she shouldn’t be doing, but i guess that’s just part of her character. something that really affected my reading experience was the constant sentences of “he’s a norman” and “she’s an anglo saxon” as the character’s excuses to hate each other. it became repetitive and annoying.
i loved the writing style of this book so much. although the plot lagged in places and became somewhat boring, the writing flowed so well that i just flew through the book. it really frustrated me that there was constant “head swapping” between the two main characters (as it got somewhat confusing at times), but i really enjoyed being able to see both sides of the story/both sides of the cultural difference.