Lady Gallant, by Suzanne Robinson

>> Monday, November 08, 2004

I just checked my records and I purchased Lady Gallant, by Suzanne Robinson on February 2002. 2 years and 8 months, it spent in my TBR shelf. It's strange, actually, because from the comments I'd heard I knew I was likely to enjoy it.

The ladies of the palace called Nora Becket "mouse". But beneath her shy, artless ways hid the heart of a lioness. A daring spy in Queen Mary's court, she risked her life to rescue the innocent from a terrible fate. Yet it was Nora who needed rescuing when cutthroats attacked her - and when Christian de Rivers, a lusty sword-wielding rogue, swept her out of harm's way...and into his arms. As magnificent and mesmerizing as a hawk, Christian both frightened and excited Nora, even as he pursued her with a single- minded passion that left her longing to be caught. Yet soon she would discover that she had reason to be frightened. For the dashing nobleman had his own secrets to keep, his own enemies to rout - and his own brand of vengeance for a wide-eyed beauty whom he loved only too well...
It was an excellent read, as good as I'd heard and more. My grade: an A-.

I loved both the characters and their romance and the excellently done setting.

Christian and Nora were not characters who felt like the same old thing. They felt fresh and they felt real. Christian was a fascinating character, brash and charming and dangerous at the same time, capable of both tenderness and cruelty. We discovered him little by little, with the author gradually showing us more and more of his facets and not falling into the temptation of over-exploiting his past, which she left a bit mysterious. I loved the way Robinson showed his increasing fascination with the woman he, at first, had seen as much too weak for him. As for Nora, wow! This was a woman who really came into her own during the book, changing from a timid mouse to a dragon.

And now to what first attracted me to the book, the grovelling. I'm a sucker for a good grovel, i.e., not one that is 2 paragraphs long coming after 400 pages of the hero treating the heroine like dirt. The one here was just about perfect. At one point, Christian believes Nora has betrayed him, and, hurt, decides to wound her as badly as she has wounded her. His actions literally kill her love, and he then has to make an almost superhuman effort to win her back. What I liked so much about it was that Nora is not trying to get revenge when she won't forgive him. No, she's been so badly hurt by him that she really has stopped caring. When she doesn't want him to touch her it's not because she fears he'll make her want him again, but because his touch takes her back and makes her hurt, so she can't tolerate it. Christian has to make her fall in love with him all over again, and the process all but kills him, and he deserved the suffering. It was all so wonderfully satisfying!

The setting was also outstanding. The final days of the reign of Queen Mary come to life. It's a colourful world, and one where violence lurks under the shiny colours. The language is also perfect. There is some political intrigue, with both Nora and Christian being supporters of Princess Elizabeth at Queen Mary's court, but the focus is on the romance.

From the reviews I've been able to read, Robinson's other books are not as good as this one. A shame, but this one was so excellent I think I'll still look for them, especially the one that's a spinoff of this one.


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