I have a fun little treat for you, today! Emily Murdoch, a historical romance author, was kind enough to give me a slot on the book tour for her medieval romance, Conquests. As an educated historian, I was tickled pink when I saw that Murdoch has a specialty in medieval history, and a rather impressive resume. Needless to say, I went into this book with the highest of expectations.
Overall Rating: 5/6 Glass Slippers
Genre: Historical Romance
The book begins in the year 1069 and focuses on the young Avis, a young Anglo-Saxon noblewoman who lives in the home she once knew, that has been taken over by Norman invaders. She tries to keep hold of her history and culture, but is being pressured into marrying the Normal Lord Richard, as King William had decreed that the Anglo-Saxons must be bred out. But Avis could never love Richard; he’s old, disgusting, perverted, and had a heavy hand in the destruction of her entire family. She makes no secret of her hatred for her captor, and King William sees it as well. So the king gives her a choice; marry old Richard, or a young man named Melville, whom she has never met.
Luckily, Melville isn’t terrible to look at. Avis may have even thought him handsome, had he not been born a treacherous Norman. He also is just as displeased with the order to marry, one thing that Avis admires, although she can hardly admit it even to herself. But a marriage must be made, no matter what, and she agrees to take Melville to husband. While she, legally, becomes a Norman, Avis finds herself tied to a man and a future she never wanted. Is she doomed to a life of cold disinterest from Melville? Will she lose her Saxon heritage? Or will she, one day, find peace?
Historically, I couldn’t find any flaws in the delicate touches of accuracy that Murdoch put in her work. It wasn’t overly factual, in the way some historical fiction can be, but had just enough to make it clear what time they were in. My only qualm was that Avis wasn’t terribly likable for the first few chapters of the book. Her blind hatred of everyone made her seem more pouty than relatable and she didn’t really seem to get much of a personality until Melville came into her life. But, I’ve never been taken captive by Norman soldiers before, so what do I know? Overall, I found it an enjoyable read that’s suitable for expert history lovers and the novice dabblers in Medieval alike.