Honor's Splendour by Julie Garwood
Updated: Jan 30
This book made my heart flutter. I smiled. I sighed. I held my breath in fear. I felt a range of emotions, and all of them were due to the brilliant writing and story-telling skills of Julie Garwood. For about six hours, I was transported to a world that, for me, was the perfect blend of Outlander, Lord of the Rings, and Game of Thrones.
Duncan, the Baron of Wexton (aka the Wolf), is freed by Madelyne, the beautiful sister of his arch enemy, Louddon. During the unselfish act of warming his feet against her stomach, Madelyn unknowingly binds herself to the fierce warrior. After utterly destroying Louddon's home and the soldiers who lived there, Duncan takes Madelyn to his home.
What I loved so much about this story was the way Duncan and Madelyne's love unfolded. It wasn't rushed. Julie Garwood took her time, letting both characters realize how they felt about each other. Yes, we know they were attracted to each other from the day they met, but, unlike some romance novels, I didn't have to read pages of instalust and roll my eyes at a premature declaration of love. They made out a few times, but they didn't have sex until after they were married. Duncan is a little rough around the edges, but he shows great kindness to Madelyne and protects her. You know he cares for her when he tells his men, "No one touches her. She is mine." He re-emphasizes his position in her life when he tells his youngest brother, "Madelyne is mine, Gilard." Me swooning. Madelyn, a bit stubborn and also sweet, is an admirable heroine. She is brave and proud, yet suffers from low-self esteem due to her brother's cruelty. She has only known love through her mother, uncle, and the kind servants in Louddon's home.
Madelyne's innocent notions of sex provided the comic relief I needed while reading a novel sprinkled with uncertainty and fight scenes. I chuckled every time I read the phrase "flat on her back" or "flat on my back." I also appreciated the scenes in which Madelyne and Adela interacted.
I'm certain taking a bath every day wasn't common practice in medieval England, but we'll overlook that oddity which the author added to Madelyne's character. I don't know yet if there are stories about the other two Wexton brothers, but there certainly should be.