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Monday, June 14, 2010

A Saxon Tapestry by Margaret Blake

A Saxon Tapestry by Margaret Blake
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full (227 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 4 Books
Reviewed by Camellia

Alfled’s tranquil world is abruptly shattered by the Norman invasion. In the wake of the Norman victory her house and lands are handed over to a detestable Norman, Rolf Le Blond, and Alfled finds herself alone and unprotected. Determined to survive, she disguises herself as her dead brother Alfred. Convinced the Norman seigneur will never realize he has been fooled, Alfled walks a dangerous line. “Alfled played the boy but could not forget she had the heart and soul of a woman.”

Alfled’s immaturity and lack of experience in the ways of the world make her ill-equipped to handle the emotional and physical abuse she will have to endure.

A beautiful, pampered Saxon girl, Alfled Godwine, with hair the color of “well-used gold”, is the only remaining heir. Her three older brothers died in battles. Her twin brother died of the fever that is now killing her father. He rouses one last time, in a rage, demanding that she hold their estate and never let a foreigner put roots down on THEIR soil. She feels compelled to carry out his demand.

Even though Alfled has been pampered and is accustomed to riches, she has learned to do many things with her brothers and she knows the workings of the estate well. Deciding if she appeared to be male, she would have a better chance of carrying out her father’s demand, Alfled cuts off her long braids, puts on her twin brother’s clothes, and becomes Alfred rather than Alfled. She sets out to meet the impending challenges, but her youthful lack of disciple keeps her from controlling her tongue and her temper. She is no match for the Norman soldier, Rolf Le Blond, who comes to claim the Godwineson estate.

William, The Conqueror hates all who bear the name Godwineson and wants all of them killed. He gives all of Edgar Godwineson’s property to Rolf for his loyalty and excellent military service. He also tells Rolf to kill all four of Edgar’s sons and sell his daughter into slavery, preferably Eastern slavery.

At age twenty-six, Rolf has seen too many battles. He is weary. As the sixth son of a nobleman, Rolf had to make his own way in the world, which he has done as a soldier and leader in William’s army. The Saxon’s estate makes him a very wealthy man. Now, he can ask Ann St. Clair to marry him—a longtime dream of his.

The intrigues, subterfuge, scheming, and conflicts that keep Alfled on the estate make A Saxon Tapestry spellbinding. The twists and turns in the plot tantalize.

The story is filled with cruelty, jealousy, and continual battles that Rolf in pulled back into, making lives dark with misery with only rare times of light, carefree, normal living.

Margaret Blake’s captivating style of writing takes your breath away at times. While she shows the horrors of war, she also slips in a wonderful love story that reaffirms the resilience of people to overcome hardships and build a life with hope for the future.