Jane Feather has been one of my personal favorites since I first read: Almost Innocent. It’s such an amazing tale. It draws you in and keeps you interested.
It makes you want to put it in your to-read-again pile.
The story begins with the Duke of Lancaster and his mistress, Isolde, who also happens to be with child. Throughout the first few paragraphs you can tell something is about to happen; I personally heard gloomy music in my mind as I continued to read. It turns out that Isolde was trying to poison the Duke and he instead poisons her. While she lays dying, the child within her begins to push its way into the world. He thinks about leaving the child there with her dying mother, but instead decides that there was too much death in the room.
Magdalen grows up believing the Lord of Belair is her father. The lord isn’t particularly rude or nasty but almost indifferent to the young girl, mainly because he believes she is ‘tainted by her birth.’ In just a few short-lived moments, we meet the hero: Guy de Gervais. He arrives to stand-in for his nephew for Magdalen and him to marry. He takes her under his care. She meets her real father, and though he doesn’t mean to, the Duke is cruel and flings her away from him because of the “eyes of her mother.”
Guy’s wife dies, and even at such a young age, Magdalen believes herself to be madly in love with Guy. So she tells him she shouldn’t marry Edmund, his nephew, she should marry him. Guy tosses it away as the naivete of a young girl. She and Edmund marry and Magdalen is sent back to her old home.
Following this, we see Magdalen grown up and see Guy falling in love with her despite himself and everyone else.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Not only was I sympathetic to Guy and Magdalen but I was moved by their passionate love for each other. There was equal drama and action as well as love and romance. It was just the perfect amount of everything that it didn’t give too much or too little. I do think there could have been some improvements, but nothing too serious. If you aren’t one to read romance novels because of their specific scenes, then this story is perfect for you.
“An accomplished storyteller … rare and wonderful.”
— Daily News of Los Angeles