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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Heart of the Rose by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

The Heart of the Rose by Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Publisher: Eternal Press
Genre: Historical, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (353 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rated: 5 books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Bronwyn is kind and resourceful, a healer ahead of her time who cares for her aging father and two young sisters. She can entrance a man with her sweet voice, the beauty of her face. She’s an impoverished peasant who lives in the dark, suspicious times of fifteenth-century England where such a woman is feared. Witches are believed to be everywhere, waiting to ensnare a powerful man…like Edward the Fourth of England, who comes across her one day singing in a tavern and makes her his mistress.

Edward’s powerful adversary, The Earl of Warwick, seeks to take over the throne of England. Bronwyn is torn between the two; one she loves, the other she loathes. One cherishes her, the other wants to possess and control her. As battle lines form, and the country is torn apart by political upheaval and bloody carnage, the two sides wrestle for the crown. Who will she end up with? When she’s condemned to burn as a witch, which man will save her and which will let her die?

The Heart of the Rose, transports readers to an amazing, imagined 15th century; where superstition plays a huge role, but where love, too, might have power...

Bronwyn is the odd-job man's daughter: beautiful, but poor and often tired, passionate, but hardly free to follow her heart.

It is a dark time in this little corner of England: it is a time when Europe is burning its witches and plague threatens Kings as well as commoners. But some fare better than others and vengeance fuels a terrible hatred in Bronwyn's heart. It creates a strange contrast in the soul of a healer, this terrible hatred. Still, events shape who she is, and her determination for revenge takes her on paths few beautiful women would ever follow.

Edward is an expected addition to her life - but is hardly the only man enchanted with her. And, 'enchanted' is the word, because in this superstitious community, being accused of witchcraft is a terrible, terrible thing. This tale unfolds in unpredictable directions, but readers will sympathize with Bronwyn and keep hoping in that the right man will both love her and save her. It is also wonderful to recognize that she is a powerful character in her own right, and struggles to never allows herself to be simply be another's possession. Her emotional turmoil at various events (like not realizing who the King was until Far Too Late) is completely believable.

Ms. Griffith skillfully brings the medieval backdrop to life; we see and sense and almost feel the freezing temperature emanating from some descriptions. Other pages bring the raucous environment of the tavern to life: from songs to smells. Her descriptive gifts bring this magical world to life. Somehow, the author is able to explain the past or describe a scene in a way that totally engrosses the reader. Because of these delicious moments, the reflections of Bronwyn or descriptions of place, we cannot call this work fast-paced; (though in places events happen quickly enough.) No matter; readers will savor the longer descriptions, rather like indulging slowly in a decadent dessert.

The Heart of the Rose is daring and delightful; a blend of adventure and romance, spiced with magic and utterly believable. Treat yourself.