Merrimon Book Reviews

Death of Harold in the Battle of Hastings, as shown on the Bayeux Tapestry

Plaque at Battle Abbey commemorating the fusing of the Anglo-Saxon and Norman peoples

William the Conqueror
Bayeaux tapestry

From Medieval Book Reviews
Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord
Runaway Lady, Conquering Lord by Carol Townend
by Carol Townend

Beautiful use of imagery!

Emma of Fulford was raised as a thane's daughter but now her reputation precedes her.  Her young son is proof of all the rumors of her being a fallen woman.  When the boy's father returns, Emma knows she must run away to protect herself and her son.  She runs to a Norman knight, Sir Richard of Asculf, begging him for protection.  From their closeness emerges a passion but the honorable Sir Richard must first tame this woman.  Will she run from him as she did her former lover?  Before they can truly find love, Sir Richard must share with her a dark secret. 

Carol Townend's RUNAWAY LADY, CONQUERING LORD, fourth in the Wessex Weddings series, brings alive the tensions felt after the battle of Hastings.  In this wonderful series, Carol Townend creates stories of romance amid the conflict and changes in society. 
RUNAWAY LADY, CONQUERING LORD can most defimnitely be read as a stand alone but fans of the series will enjoy the context and interconnectiveness of the previous romances.  RUNAWAY LADY, CONQUERING LORD has a wonderful combination of action and emotion, both of which create a hint of suspense and riveting adventure as Emma and Richard become closer and closer to one another.  Carol Townend does an excellent job in characterization, allowing readers a glimpse at the motivations and deeper desires of her characters, a glimpse that comes from the characters themselves.   Athough fearful of her former lover, Emma is no helpless victim.  The strength of Emma's determination enriches her actions.   Likewise, Richard's sense of honor and his inner thoughts shine from the pages of the romance as he wrestles with his memories of war and his growing passion for Emma.  As the two journey together, readers capture an image of the landscape and the time period.  The ending is superb!  Instead of a mild resolution, Carol Townend brings together all things in a beautiful satisfying memorable image.  Carol Townend puts a wonderful zing in her ending.

Carol Townend is a new, unique voice in medieval romance. 
Carol Townend will appeal to readers who crave more history in their medieval historical romances. The beauty of Carol Townend's medieval romance is not just in the accurate references but rather the way she brings history into her characterization, and indeed into the very heart of her story.  The beauty and distinctive quality of Carol Townend's romances, however, is the author's use of imagery.  Carol Townend has the ability to evoke emotion through her descriptive detail.   RUNAWAY LADY, CONQUERING LORD is more plot and dialogue-based than perhaps some of the previous books in the series.  Although both action and plot are very well done, this reader would like to see the author make even more use of the distinctive imagery which separates her from lesser authors in the subgenre.  Carol Townend's descriptive detail and use of imagery makes her romances memorable long after the last page.  If you love medieval romance, Carol Townend's romances are an absolute must! 

Shame on Harlequin for not making the books of this wonderfully talented author more available in book form to American readers!  When I read articles on the re-emergence of medieval romance, I immediately think of Carol Townend in the first tier of authors creating a new and better medieval romance. Carol Townend's medieval romances talk up, not down, to readers without some of the silly and even demeaning conventions of some medieval romances while also not lessening in any way the romance of medieval romance. Her women characters are intelligent and passionate.  Her heroes are honorable, thoughtful and just as passionate.  History and romance are perfectly combined to make her romances both intellectually and emotionally satisfying to today's modern readers. 

Publisher: Harlequin Historical (October 2009)
Series: Wessex Weddings
Other books in the series: The Novice Bride, An Honorable Rogue, His Captive Lady
Author website

Reviewed by Merrimon, Medieval Book Reviews
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