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Monday, June 27, 2011

Rhiannon by Roberta Gellis

Rhiannon by Roberta Gellis
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (283 pages)
Heat Level: Hot
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Possessing an unusual combination of shyness and wildness, Rhiannon is the raven-haired daughter of a Welsh prince. Notorious for loving and leaving the most beautiful women in the realm, Simon is the handsome nobleman and youngest son of Lady Alinor of Roselynde.

When the two meet, romance sparks and burns into a love so strong that it endures battles, betrayals and their own fiery passions. While rebellion rages across medieval England and divided loyalties claim their hearts, they risk everything for eternal love.

Rhiannon wants NO husband. She wants to be free in her beloved Wales, free to coax the animals to her, to revel in the mists and the wind, roam the hills, use her knowledge of healing, and always be able to come and go as she pleases. She sings to the Winds of Dina Emrys, winds that terrify most people. They answer her. She is desired by many but her father, Prince Llewelyn freely admits to Simon of the influential Roselynde family in England that those who reach to have and hold her get their fingers burned. Llewelyn gives Simon his blessing to pursue her but warns that she is a law unto herself.

Simon holds properties in Wales and is a vassal of Llewelyn’s. He likes the Welsh style of life and of war. Young, wild, and a lover of the ladies — many of whom vie for his attention everywhere he goes, for he is a ‘beautiful’ man. Unlike most of his family, he is not political but is adept at war strategy in Welsh country. However, all his interests dim in the light of his interest in the elusive Rhiannon, who wants his beautiful body but fears his wish to marry her. His being the pursuer rather than the ‘pursuee’ is a new experience for him and his frustration and desires mount. He realizes she is always in his mind and heart even though she ran from him saying he is dangerous to her heart and soul.

Math, Rhiannon’s cat, adds humor and a hint of witchery. He lets all know how disdainful he is of most humans and how unnecessary they are to him. He is one smart cat — love him.

Other characters like Rhiannon’s mother Kieva march to a different drum than most. She is unique and in her own way just as independent as her daughter. Of course, the Roselynde characters are strong-willed, opinionated, intelligent, and steeped in the political intrigues that keep England a seething hotbed of unrest. If you’ve read other Roselynde Chronicles books, you will love catching up with old acquaintance. If you have not, you’ll find some delightful, compelling characters that will probably send you looking for their stories in earlier Roselynde Chronicles books. Strong women with men who love them make for captivating stories that are full of emotion and intelligent outmaneuvering enemies.

Medieval England of which author Roberta Gellis writes is a turbulent time when one of the King Henrys is strongly lead by the Bishop of Winchester who urges the young king to seek absolute power without regard to the Magna Carta that was so hard won earlier. The underhanded dealings are rampant and threaten to create an all-out war that would devastate the country. Ms. Gellis makes history a lot more interesting than my college professor did.

Of course, I longed for more love story with Rhiannon and Simon but I also enjoyed the court intrigues, battles strategies, just not as much as I did the magic of the love scenes with the hero and heroine. Through all the other events, my anticipation of Simon and Rhiannon finding their way to each other and realizing their ‘meant-to-be’ love kept me turning pages. The analogies and metaphors Ms. Gellis uses makes the story sparkle with life and makes the reader feel as if he or she is right there in the moment with the characters.