Dreams of Lilacs
De Piaget #16
April 29 2014
336 pages Paperback/ebooks
Galley furnished by publisher for review purposes. No remuneration exchanged and all opinion presented herein was my own except as noted.
Isabelle de Piaget is determined to elude her overprotective family by means of a hasty escape to France. But instead of making a surprise visit to her brother there, she winds up shipwrecked on the French coast with no memory of who she is or how she came to awaken in the dark and forbidding castle of an equally brooding lord.
Gervase de Seger rescues—very reluctantly—the bedraggled urchin he finds on the road and puts her to work where he can ignore her. Unfortunately, he soon realizes that her brother is an intimidating lord who is going to be absolutely furious when he learns that his beloved sister has been laboring as a scullery maid. Yet Isabelle may be the one who holds the key to solving Gervase’s most pressing problem: that someone has been trying to finish the task of separating him from his title and his lands.
Finding the truth propels Gervase and Isabelle from the buried secrets of half-ruined keeps to the glittering French court, and to the realization that love can blossom in the most perilous circumstances—and in the most unexpected places of the heart . . . (Berkley/Jove website)
I really loved this book and it had no sex, and no four letter words. Nor was it religious, or no more so than would necessary in 13th century France. What it does have is a great love story, interesting family relationships, and dangerous intrigue. You may think you know who the baddie is but you won’t really be sure.
There are a lot of issues with an injury that is not healing well. Now, remember that back in the day, almost any kind of wound could kill you, and a serious wound took a lot to recover from. For some reason, perhaps the absence of a female influence on the household, Gervase’s ‘rehab’ is not happening. He wonders if he’ll ever be strong again so he can fight; these guys love fighting. This makes him “the damaged duke.” It means that the girl has to save him from himself. Then of course we usually do save men from themselves. While different herbs are used to help Gervase, it is exercise and massage, along with an attitude adjustment that will bring him around.
There’s a lot about protecting women in the book: chivalry. And, times were rough and women generally have enough upper body strength to wield a sword so that actually was the guys job But, in this book, the concepts of protection, and strength resting with men, are turned on their heads. While Gervase saves Isabelle from physical harm a couple of times, it Isabelle who saves Gervase from himself. Perhaps it is like that throughout the series — this is the sixteenth book — maybe women are always doing the rescuing. This is the first book in the series I have read.
Speaking of that: I didn’t even realize this was so deep into a series. There was obviously backstory, but this story stood on its own pretty well.
And, that there is no sex wasn’t really a problem. Imagine a couple getting to know each other without sex?! It’s a good example of how something can be sexy without “knocking boots.”
Although I had a hard time seeing these characters who are larger than life: beautiful, strong, brave, etc., as the characters we see in medieval paintings, which are almost always slight, I did see them; just more as a Pre-Rapaelite painter, or NC Wyeth, would depict them. I did enjoy the way they lived and loved. And I liked the author’s style. I can’t figure out the title’s meaning — lilacs are not mentioned in the book. The cover is weird too — I have never seen that kind of scrolled-iron work in a medieval picture. It looks more Victorian. I asked Lynn about the title. She replied, “…my awesome agent came up with the cover design and we loved the lilacs but for the sake of historical accuracy, I used forget-me-nots in the book itself.”
Great read!At B&N
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