November 29, 2016
Whatever happened to medieval romance?
The proverbial light-bulb went off. In my search for a good book, which included hopping
into the Wayback Machine, it dawned on me. Most of the books I've been rereading take place in what I would call medieval times. After rereading them, even the ones I didn't particularly care for, I came to the conclusion that the historical genre is missing something. Most historicals now take place in the 1800s or early 1900s. After rereading some of my old books I have arrived at the conclusion that our authors are missing out on some very colorful time periods. It's a shame that medieval and dark ages aren't more popular. These books (even the ones not so good), have been very vivid. These time periods have a lot going on in them which we are missing.
My Beloved, by Karen Ranney. Karen Ranney is not an auto-buy author for me. I pick up her books when I hear good things about them - and, that is what happened with this one. My Beloved is/was a book which has a preponderance of glowing reviews. Since I am in a dry spell, I thought “what the hey, let’s give it a try.” I'm glad I did.
We have for our heroine, Juliana. A shy woman who has been betrothed to Sebastian forever and ever. She's been waiting for him patiently at the local convent. When he finally returns, she is eager to begin their marriage, but there is a stumbling block. Sebastian does not want the marriage to be consummated. He has a reason, a good reason, or at least better than a lot of Romanceland reasons. However, he doesn't tell Juliana what that reason is. Spoiler: I'll give you a hint, he's been locked up, he's wears cloths which cover him from head to toe and he cannot be touched. He is a leper. Not a fake leper, but a real one. Because he was a real leper, I wondered how the author was going to come up with a HEA. Especially considering this was a time period when the treatment of leprosy required isolation in some dark, dank cave somewhere.
Sebastian is a loyal man. He is responsible for his home Langlinais and the people who live on those lands, so his secret must never be found out. Juliana does not want to go back to the convent, so she accepts Sebastian's proposal. She remains with him at Langlinais and begins a life of not touching. Well, these two may not be able to touch, but they can talk to each other - and they do. They become friends and of course they fall in love.
This is a true love story. There is so much to love about My Beloved. Almost everything in this story is full, rich, and colorful. Ms. Ranney has written words which have sounds - you can hear the music of the time. This book contains tons of vivid imagery. The characters are strong, well-developed and lovely. Their time together is very poignant - I was tense myself with the worry of just how Ms. Ranney was going to resolve their problem. Did I like her resolution? Not really. I would have liked a cure coming from some herbal stuff that Juliana creates, instead I got a Ben-Hur cave moment. But that's just me, I'm not a "miracle" type person. Regardless of my dissatisfaction with the resolution, I found My Beloved to be a rich tapestry of lovely words and I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves romance books.
Time/Place: Medieval England