Two great reviews of Casablanca Classics, My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas (97814022557700) and A Tapestry of Dreams by Roberta Gellis (9781402254987), will be featured in the May issue of the Historical Novels Review.
Historical Novels Review is the official publication of the Historical Novel Society, and will be sent out to its 4,000+ members in the US and UK this month.
MY LOVE, MY ENEMY
Jan Cox Speas, Sourcebooks Casablanca, 2011
(c1961), $9.99, pb, 288pp, 97814022557700
This fresh edition of the classic romantic historical novel set during the War of 1812 combines the wit and tenderness of Georgette Heyer with the martial detail and atmosphere of Patrick O’Brian, and deserves placement at the pinnacle of its genre.
Despite the British blockade of the Chesapeake, adventurous Page Bradley slips into Annapolis, piloted by MacDougall, the disapproving Scotsman who serves her father. When she saves suspected English spy Jocelyn Trevor from mob violence and a likely hanging, she falls into more adventure—and danger—than she ever imagined. While making her way home to her wealthy father’s plantation, her vessel is captured by the British and she becomes a prisoner and pawn. Trevor, by birth a viscount, becomes responsible for her safety and her innocence—quite a challenge in the midst of war.
As their unspoken attachment grows, they find themselves divided by their patriotism. A deeper knowledge of one another is forged on shipboard and during battle, on the island of Barbados, in Brittany, and in Trevor’s native London, where his American charge manages to escape his vigilance. With every reversal of fortune come doubts that test their hearts and loyalties, the couple and the vivid secondary characters are realistically, reasonably, and poignantly affected by momentous events, culminating with the burning of Washington.
A TAPESTRY OF DREAMS
Roberta Gellis, Sourcebooks, 2011, $9.99
pb, 496 pp, 9781402254987
Set during in the 12th century, A Tapestry of Dreams takes place in the northern marches where English landowners, caught up in the rivalry between Matilda and Stephen, engage in a bloody struggle against their Scottish neighbors. High atop a rock promontory, Jernaeve is the only English fort unassailable from without. There Lady Audris works at her loom in safety, weaving tapestries prized for beauty and uniqueness. Sometimes, however, she weaves a story of danger yet to come. To avoid accusations of witchcraft, Audris denies foreknowledge. She believes her gift
comes from God; and her people revere her ability to protect them.
Audris is content with her life. She has no wish to marry but when the story of a handsome unicorn begins to develop beneath her shuttle, the lady realizes that neither her heart nor her castle will be impregnable from within.
This fine historical novel was originally published in 1985. This should not deter readers in search of a well-written, thoroughly researched, medieval romance. A Tapestry of Dreams is one to savor.