By Possession, by Madeline Hunter

>> Monday, September 10, 2007

With only a week to go before I leave for England and the preparations kicking my ass, if I want to write any reviews at all (which I do; I'm addicted to it), they're going to have to be itty-bitty-sized. So here we go.

TITLE: By Possession (read an excerpt)
AUTHOR: Madeline Hunter

PAGES: 371

SETTING: Medieval: 1326 England
TYPE: Straight romance
SERIES: It's Hunter's second published book, but chronologically, it's the first of her six Medievals. See here for more details.

REASON FOR READING: I'd been meaning to reread it for a while.

A Common Lady

For years she had thought he was dead. Yet when Addis de Valence strode into Moira Falkner's cottage, there was no mistaking the sharp planes of his face, and the scar she herself had helped to heal. The young squire who had once been her hero was now her lord, a hardened man who returned to claim the son she had raised as her own. But Moira couldn't deny that Addis roused a passion she never thought to feel--and a perilous hope for a future that could never be....

An Uncommon Love

Addis returned from the Crusades to find his lands usurped by his stepbrother, and his country on the brink of rebellion. Determined to reclaim his birthright, Addis could not afford to be distracted by a woman--even one as tempting as Moira. Yet the only living part of his contented past lay in Moira--and his desire for her was more dangerous than his deadly battles with the king's men. By law, Moira belonged to him...but possessing her heart might be far more difficult.
THE PLOT: When Addis de Valence returns from the Crusades, he finds his lands usurped by his step-brother, with the full connivance of the King's friends. All that's left is a manor brought by his late wife... and Moira Falkner, serf from that manor. Moira claims to have been freed by Addis' father-in-law before he died, but Addis refuses to lose her, too, and won't believe her claims.

As Addis fights and manouvers to recover his holdings, he and Moira struggle as well, as each becomes more important to the other but the power issues between them keep them apart.

MY THOUGHTS: This was a very good read. I loved what Hunter did with the tension that arises from the issues of power and inequality and possesion and injustice that separate Moira and Addis. The tension is both between them and inside Addis, because he knows very well that it is an injustice, that Moira is indeed telling the truth about having been set free from her bond. It's just that Addis can't tolerate the thought of not having her beside him, because she's the only thing in the world that gives him a measure of peace. He must keep her with him, by whichever method he finds to do so. It works, because Moira keeps her pride and though she does warm to Addis, she never gives in to what she knows would be wrong for her. When they do come together completely, they do so as equals, in spite of the difference in their stations. In the end, I believed their love completely.

What was less successful was all that about the past history between them that Addis can't remember at first. That felt strange and improbable, and it didn't feel particularly necessary to the story, either. But all right, it didn't bother me all that much.

As in all of Hunter's books, this is an excellent historical romance. The history comes alive and plays a huge role, but it doesn't overwhelm the story. It just shapes it and gives it a vivid backdrop and makes it all the more enjoyable. This is how historical romance should be done.



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