The Linnet, by Elizabeth English

>> Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Linnet was my first Elizabeth English, an author I'd never even heard of until I read the review of this book at AAR. It's a Medieval, a genre I'm not a big fan of (no rotten tomatos, please!)

On the deadly border between Scotland and England, the ancient feud between the Darnleys and the Kirallens threatens the love between a woman trapped by fear and the man determined to free her.
I almost feel guilty for giving this book a B-, the same grade I gave to books like, say, The Real Deal. Technically, The Linnet is so much better than TRD, I know that perfectly well. It's just that reading it didn't give me all that much pleasure.

Maude and Ronan's love story itself is truly lovely and sweet, but what's going on around them, (and also, most especially, what had gone on in the past) is just so harrowing, that all the warm fuzzy feelings I got from Maude and Ronan were pretty much cancelled. Raping, pillaging, raiding... I know all this is probably perfectly accurate, and I can't believe I'm actually saying this, but it was too much for me.

And it's a shame, really, because Maude and Ronan are two characters who are very different from the usual. On the first place, it's the hero who's the healer here, and the heroine who's tortured. Maude is really a heroine on the edge of madness. Ronan arrives in the nick of time to save her, a couple more weeks and she'd have been either mad or dead. As for Ronan, he's almost too good to be true, so kind and caring, a real nurturer.

Another problem was the fact that there are a couple of books before this one, and while I wasn't completely lost for not having read them, the story in The Linnet does reference past events and characters quite a bit. At least when these characters appear, they have a necessary role in this story, so it's not just a "let's trot them out so that loyal readers can see they're deliriously happy" moment.


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