A Silver Mirror by Roberta Gellis
Publisher: Cerridwen Press
Length: Full (382 pages)
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Camellia
Alphonse d’Aix gave his tourney prize of a silver mirror to a lonely little girl. Since her affairs were also left by her father in Alphonse’s hands, Barbara was quite sure he was the man chosen to be her husband. Alphonse was too kind to laugh at an awkward, unhappy thirteen-year-old, but he made it clear that she was not his chosen.
By the time Barbara returned to France, fleeing the unwanted attentions of Guy de Montfort, Alphonse had long regretted his refusal. His immediate proposal of marriage is swiftly accepted. Barbara had hidden her pain but never recovered from her first love. Still, thinking about Aphonse’s past life, Barbara decides a semblance of coldness will be necessary to hold his attention.
However, Guy de Montfort had not forgotten Barbara’s refusal, and was determined out of spite to have her, even if it meant killing Alphonse. But Guy’s attacks drive Barbara and Alphonse into the hands of the rebellious Welsh, and amid the tension and terror of freeing Prince Edward from de Montfort’s prison, their true love is exposed.
The political intrigues, the insatiable desire for power, and the undercurrent of traitorous machination create turbulent times for love to find its way among all the pettiness, greed, and vindictiveness during the thirteenth century when the noblemen rebel against King Henry because of his excesses abuse.
Barbara de Thouzan le Thor, married by proxy to a Frenchman at age thirteen and widowed at fifteen before the marriage was consummated, knows her way around court and proves to be far more astute than men realize or think possible. She is a survivor and winner though not without some tense situations as she does a balancing act. Her father stood against the spendthrift King Henry, but he cannot agree with the rebel noblemen that have gone to extremes in their demands. Consequently, Barbara is looked on with suspicion by both those people who believe that regardless of a king’s misdeeds, he is appointed by God and must be obeyed and by the assertive noblemen. She does some fine maneuvering to keep from falling totally out of favor with either side.
Her other major conflict is winning and keeping the only man she ever loved—Alphonse d’Aix. Her jealousy and fears cloud her better judgment at times.
As Barbara and Alphonse are pulled into the political power plays, they become pawns it seems, but they finesse their way out of dangerous situations thus creating spellbinding reading. The love scenes, the war scenes, and some of the court scene produce an adrenaline high.
A Silver Mirror is rich with accurate medieval history, customs, and mores. It teems with marvelous, intriguing characters and the plot is powerful. Roberta Gellis brings this turbulent period of history to life while she weaves a fantastic love story into a complex plot that keeps the reader’s mind totally engaged.
For readers of medieval historical works, this one is a “goody”. For readers new to this period, A Silver Mirror, with its historical accuracy, is a great one to start with.