Merrimon Book Reviews

From Medieval Book Reviews
Her Irish Warrior
Her Irish Warrior
by Michelle Willingham

A Medieval Reading Delight!

Her Irish Warrior, set in 12th century Ireland, is a heart-warming Medieval historical romance with excellent characterization, a scene setting made alive to the senses, a suspenseful plot and authenticity to the Medieval literature.

Genevieve de Renalt is engaged to Sir Hugh Marstowe. Although her father supports this marriage, Genevieve cannot allow herself to marry such a man now that she knows him and his true character. When her father cannot rescue her, she escapes. She comes across Bevan MacEgan, an Irish warrior, in the woods and pleads for his help and protection. Pulled between his duties as a warrior and the feelings she inspires, as well as his desire to recapture Rionallis, the land taken from him and now part of Genevieve's dowry, will he choose her and will his choice be made from a desire for her or the land? Will Bevan and Genevieve's past secrets come back to haunt them or can they find true love despite all the obstacles others pose? Can they open their hearts amidst or will oaths and duty win over love? In the Middle Ages and in the background of this romance, marriage was a political alliance. Add to this the fact that both Genevieve de Renalt and Bevan MacEgan have been hurt if not abused by previous partners. The heroine and hero are respectively a Norman lady and a Irish warrior who hates the Normans. Add all that together and more and the chances of these mixing pleasure with any possible marriage alliance seem pretty close to nil....but can hearts win out over both force and vulnerability?

Characterization is one of the strengths of this romance. Genevieve de Renalt's betrothed is a power hunger man who thinks love is dominating a woman. Genevieve is an excellent heroine, determined and clever, full of passion and tenderness and a wonderful contrast to Hugh. Michelle Willingham allows the reader to see both the warrior and the man in Bevan MacEgan, his strength and loyalty plus the scars from battle and in his heart. A suspenseful plot with some interesting turns and conflicts makes Her Irish Warrior a fast paced page turner. Hugh, her betrothed will stop at nothing to kill Bevan and take back his possession. In a world where marriage can be a political alliance, even King Henry has a say in Genevieve's marriage on account of her dowry, land that used to belong to Bevan! So many conflicts, so many secrets, so many hurts and past wrongs....will Genevieve and Bevan be able to find real love when all conflicts, inner and outer, seek to prevent their union? Michelle Willingham has a gift for creating a scene and details that are both faithful to the Medieval tradition and which also make this romance accessible to modern readers. One bedroom scene in particular takes a custom fairly commonly seen in Medieval stories and adds a nice heart-warming, romantic twist. Her Irish Warrior has several echoes from Medieval literature, but each time, Michelle Willingham adds details and context that heighten the tension and romance between the hero and heroine. Michelle Willingham's writing of the snow adds a tactile landscape into the scenes in a manner that makes the historical background feel alive. The vocabulary is authentic and yet accessible to the modern reader.

Publisher: Harlequin Historical (May 2007)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Medieval Book Reviews
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