Author: Roberta Gellis
Publisher: Ellora's Cave
Buy Link: Buy Roselynde Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed by: Mickey
The end of her world . . . and the beginning of her greatest adventure
In a time of lords and ladies, Lady Alinor Devaux was an anomaly. The mistress of Roselynde was young, uncannily intelligent, wealthy and had a reputation for being as fierce and protective as any feudal lord before her. Alinor was unmarried and a rich prize for greedy men seeking power and wealth.
When the Queen makes Alinor a royal ward and assigns a warden to oversee the running of Roselynde, Alinor must deal with not only fighting off unwanted suitors, but with the warden as well! Not willing to be any man or woman's pawn, she is determined to make Sir Simon Lemagne's life miserable. But the seasoned knight isn't quite what Alinor expects.
What belongs to Alinor remains with Alinor, and God help any woman, man or holy crusade that gets in her way .
As the first in a wonderfully written series, Roselynde is an incredible example of what historical fiction can and should be. It can be dull and dry or it can be endlessly fascinating; fortunately for Roberta Gellis' readers, her novel happens to fall so far over the fascinating mark it almost comes close to obsessive. To say that I loved this book so much I found it hard to put down is not an understatement – I have both the print and electronic versions for my “keeper” shelves. Ms. Gellis has a gift for making her characters seem almost a true part of history rather than fictional persons created to advance her plot. There are actual historical figures scattered throughout the novel, figures who interact with the main fictional characters of the book and become active secondary characters themselves.
One of the primary elements of Ms. Gellis's novels that sets them apart from other historical fiction is the vivid and sparkling dialogue, coupled with a quick-paced plot. Let's face facts, a historical novel can reach the point of slow and plodding at the drop of a hat, such is not the case with Roselynde, I could not put this book down (even with the second reading!) The interaction between Ms. Gellis's characters sets the tone for her story, taking them from one dimensional and boring to colorful and fun. Alinor and Simon are a fabulous couple. While there is an obvious age difference to overcome at first, Alinor is such a strong personality that one doesn't notice her age after the initial page. She takes charge of her knights and every problem that arises with ease, and provides the reader with several chuckles while doing so. Ms. Gellis paints a picture for her readers showing us what the 12th century was like: from the basic living conditions to the clothing for both the nobles and the commoners, even illustrating how the people prepared meals and traveled. I loved this novel and recommend it with a light heart.