Katherine Deauxville,
Blood Red Roses
(E-Reads, 1999)

I fear some people are not sure how to take Katherine Deauxville (a.k.a. Maggie Davis) because she refuses to conform to patterns of writing. I feel sorry for them, because she is a writer with charm, wit, with strong research and the ability to create characters you will vividly recall years after you put the book down. She is often shoved into a romance catagory, but in truth she is not a romance writer. The historical/literature genre snubs her because of the romance tag -- and narrow minds cost them a marvellous read, for she writes on the level you rarely see done in today's commerical market. Readers who enjoy Diana Galbadon or Sharon Kay Pennman are missing a writer they would love.

Blood Red Roses is the first of a series of medieval sagas that follow one family through many generations. In this tale, which follows the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror gives his knight Fulk de Jobourg ownership of Castle Morlaix in Wales and orders him to marry its heiress, Lady Alwyn. Her father was hanged for treason and Fulk put in control of the lands, so Alwyn, quite naturally, is not pleased to be commanded to marry him. Her villains fears William's and Falk's wrath, so they truss her up and deliver her to the altar. Fauk is disappointed his bride has to be wed in this manner, but does his duty. Then promptly leaves her to go hunt rebel Welsh.

It is a series a hardships, pains and struggles, with Alwyn making all sorts of mistakes, but eventually Falk and Alywn must face their lives together ... with her continually thwarting his power and yet, she is unable to fight her growing need for his role in her life.

It is a wonderful tale, very nonstereotypical. Deauxville is able to walk the fine line between giving you an independent, headstrong character the women of today can appreciate, yet keeps within the believability of the history of the period.

Deauxville is a writer who breathes history. She knows her period and gives you an insight not only into historical happenings, but truly understands the hardships and realities of the people, the land, the politics. Few writers pen such quality works that are so rich in historical textures. I feel as though I am not reading a story, but stepping through a door and given a glimpse into the past.

If you love the Middle Ages, discover the Morlaix dynasty in all its glory from the magick of Katherine Deauxville.

- Rambles
written by DeborahAnne MacGillivray
published 10 May 2003

Buy it from Amazon.com.