Merrimon Book Reviews

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

An emotional Medieval Irish romance: nice twist on the classic Tristan-Iseult tale!
Iseult MacFergus can't help but notice the bruised but ever so handsome body of the new slave. Engaged to the Irish chieftain Davin O Falvey, her heart feels dead, unable to love. Davin is kind and generous but something is missing in her heart. Has her past made her incapable of feeling love? When Davin assigns Keiran a work task that forces Iseult and Keiran in close proximity, Iseult is determined to have nothing to do with this man and yet his sense of honor and inner nobility challenges her. His ability to work wood shows that he has the heart of an artist as well as the spirit of a warrior. Will he see within her and capture her spirit? Can Keiran bring her the one thing no one else can? Can Iseult heal this warrior's hurt, an inner wound that enslaves him more than his captivity?

Michelle Willingham's Irish medieval romance HER WARRIOR SLAVE grabs and does not let go. The initial conflict between Keiran and Iseult is punctuated with vivid emotion and dialog as the simplest words and gestures both set up an opposition and also pull the hero and heroine together. As Davin reacts to Keiran and Iseult, the reader feels the growing tension and suspense, wondering how Keiran and Iseult can ever manage to break through their stations, duties and the past to get together. The portrait of Keiran sculpting is superb --- suspenseful and emotional while also showing the depth of the hero and heroine. The relationship between Davin and Iseult is one of the highlights of this romance. The reader feels both his adoration of Iseult and his inability to connect to her deepest desires. Too often romance has a tendency to make a character like Davin a truly bad guy through and through just to make the relationship between Iseult and Keiran "right". What I truly loved about this romance is how Michelle Willingham did not succumb to that black and white character portrayal but instead shows Davin's strengths and weaknesses, his goodness and his weaknesses. Michelle Willingham avoids the tendency to go for the flashy, dramatic resolution and in doing so, she creates a more gentle romance, a romance of emotional depth that endears the reader to her characters from start to finish. For this reader, Davin's character was one of the highlights of HER WARRIOR SLAVE that made it shine beyond the interactions between the main characters.

In emotional tone, HER WARRIOR SLAVE comes closest to the author's previous book, HER WARRIOR KING. The past wounds of the hero and heroine motivate them, drawing them together on a deeper level as they understand one another's deepest longings. HER WARRIOR SLAVE is a prelude to her previous three books that tells the legendary beginning of the Mac Egan brothers and what a fascinating, emotional link it is! Michelle Willingham has a gift for showing readers the wounded soul that lies beneath her characters and especially in her tough warrior heroes. She also has a knack for creating secondary characters whose stories I want to hear! Here most definitely, Orin needs a tale of his own but there were several other characters too whom I would enjoy seeing again. Of all her books, the plot of this one had me really anxious to see the outcome of the romance and what would happen and how and to discover the surprises awaiting.

This reader has read about hostages, slaves and fostering quite often in medieval texts written during the period. It just goes without saying that these things exist in medieval texts so much so that often a reader glosses over them. Michelle Willingham made several of these concepts more than just words, more real in a personal way with her insights into the characters. Medieval lovers will relish the author's twist on the classic medieval tragic Tristan-Iseult tales as Michelle Willingham brings motherhood into the dynamics of love as a vital core to the dynamic between the characters and turns tragedy into romance.

Publisher: Harlequin  Historical (November 2008)

Reviewed by Merrimon, Medieval Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

Custom Search

Copyright Merrimon Crawford  2008  All Rights Reserved