Sunday, July 28, 2013

This Is All I Ask by Lynn Kurland - review

This Is All I Ask
Lyn Kurland
Historical Romance

**** {four out of six stars)

cover - one of the coolest covers for historical romance. There's no naked abdomen full of muscles, there's no woman kneeling hanging on to a man's leg like he's trying to go and she's trying to keep him.  Or like he's completely conquered her.  Nope.  This is a tasteful cover with a pretty cool dragon icon on it.  

This was a re-read for me.  The first time I read it, I was 16 years younger, 16 years of marriage younger and still in my thirties - late thirties, but thirties.  sigh....  what a difference 16 years makes.

There is no denying that Ms Kurland can write a pretty good book, with a nice mix of history, ambience, suspense and romance.   Not only that, but her romance and the resulting sexxing up is not overdone in that overbearing way that many romance novels have nowadays.  I'm talking the difference between romance and soft porn, which most romance seems to have become - or at least the last few that I read, which caused me to give up on the romance novels.

Anyway... As far as the plot is concerned, it's an interesting one.  A young girl, physically abused by her father is saved by a man who has given his oath to her brother - back when they served their overlord together.  Only this guy has taken so long to do so, and now her brother is dead, so she's been left at the whim of her extremely abusive father.

And the hero - who has a very deep distrust of women all because of oh-so evil now dead wife - well, one of the reasons he's taken so long to fullfill his oath, is because he's blind -from an accident, and has been staying in his castle, keeping his blindness a secret from all but his most trusted men....and in the process building such a crazed evil reputation that people all over talk of his complete evil - how he deals with the devil (remember this is set in midieval times), has murdered his wife,  eats babies, etc.  He sends his friend to collect his bride, who comes with almost nothing of her own, and marries her.  She still doesn't realize he's blind, and is so scared she literally is trembling in fear...

So - for hundreds of pages, these two dance around each other - him ignoring her, her scared to death, but making friends with his squire, etc.

Then comes the inevitable coming together - the friendship, the winning over, the beginnings of love, etc..  Their love is of course a sweet young love, just beginning to blossom when disaster strikes!  this is where things begin to wear on me, and I'm all ---- puleeeeezzzzz people! get  a GRIP!

All of a sudden, he has decided that he doesn't trust her. She's been seen going to a certain hut to confer with the local wisewomen - aka witches.  So of course, he has decided without asking that she's really another evil young wife who is plotting against him and the shit hits the fan - so to speak.
On top of that, her father suddenly wants to visit....

By this time in the book, I'm thinking - what the hell did I like about it?  They're both so fucking stupid!  He's way too stubborn, and she's too wimpy (yes, I know she's been abused, so that's why she's wimpy - but it's hard to take in this case)

As with all romances, things get worked out in the end, but by then I don't even like either character because they're so asinine.

However - Kurland is good with words.  She's good with settings.  She's good with writing a story, and if you happen to like reading about grand misunderstandings and subsequent renewals of love, then this is the book for you.  As for me, I just felt too old and jaded to be reading this the second time and I wish I had just left it as a nice pleasant memory of a book I enjoyed 16 years full of ups and downs ago.  Now the book has been tainted for me, because I'm older and have less patience for starcrossed lovers and husbands to make stupid assumptions.

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