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Monday, February 1, 2010
Review - Loyalty's Web by Joyce DiPastena
Title: Loyalty's Web
Author: Joyce DiPastena
Publisher: Leatherwood Press
Rating: You GOTTA Read
Reviewed by: Val
In twelfth century France, King Henry II of England has just finished quashing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his "Angevin empire." To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.
Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, she realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time—and dark secrets of the past—to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.
Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.
Loyalty's Web took me on a journey into the twelfth century that I will not soon forget. A tale of intrigue, manipulation, lust and conflict, this book was exquisitely written and showed how love can defy any evil that comes against it.
Helene and Gunther were two characters that I fell in love with immediately. The tension between the two and their decision to fight it took my breath away and had me gasping at the most inopportune moments. People around me were starting to wonder if I was ok. (Yes, people, I am alright, but Helene is not so will you please let me finish and see how this turns out?) When I first was introduced to Clothilde's character, her sister, I thought "Great, another wimpy woman in history" but oh, that couldn't have been further from the truth. Once I got to know her and understand the complexity of her relationships, I found her to be pleasant and often misunderstood. Clothilde was a character with many layers. All she wanted was the love of her life, was that so much to ask? Well, apparently yes it was according to her mother whom I detested from the beginning.
I have never been one to be into historicals although I have read some that I did fall in love with. Loyalty's Web has gone above and beyond what I have expected from historicals. It never once lacked action and mystery. I was pleased to find that I learned from this book as well as was entertained by it. The plot kept me guessing until the very end. I promise, you won't be able to figure out who was behind everything until the very end. It's just that good! The cover of this book was also something that I loved. During the book, there is a description of a dress that Gunthar bought for Helene. Not knowing how they dressed at that time, turning to the cover helped me to visualize it. I don't know how many times I turned to the cover to look at Helene, she became a real person to me.
I would like to congratulate Ms. DiPastena for a job well done. Elegant descriptions, a juicy plot line and some "hold your breath" action scenes made this my favorite historical to date. The one thing I loved about it, my teenage daughter is able to read it and I don't have to worry about what she's reading. This book is truly deserving of the You Gotta Read rating that I am giving it. Pick up Loyalty's Web, you will be so happy that you did! It is a book to be read several times over.