I'm one of the publishers of All About Romance. I love reading romance, as well as mysteries, fantasy, history and historical fiction, and all kinds of other things. Staying on Goodreads for now but trying this out in case I decide to switch.
For this month’s TBR Challenge, I was tasked with reading a book by an author who’s new to me. Since I tend to browse the UBS and pick up random books that sound interesting, I have plenty of things in my TBR stack from authors I’ve never read before. I was I the mood for a medieval, so I grabbed Ann of Cambray by Mary Lide.
Lide’s novel was published in 1984, but it’s not the old school bodice ripper that its cover might suggest. In fact, while there’s certainly a romance intrinsic to the story, the historical side of things is so meaty that I suspect that this book, published as romance in the 1980s, would get classified as historical fiction nowadays. Set during the struggle between Stephen and Matilda for the throne of England, Ann of Cambray sweeps across several years in the heroine’s life. We see her first as an orphaned child sent from her beloved home at Cambray to live as a ward of her liege lord, Raoul of Sedgwick.
At the beginning, Ann presents as a bit of a brat. However, given that she lost her mother, father and brother, and then had to move from the somewhat isolated outpost along the border at Cambray to a wealthier home at Sedgwick where she doesn’t entirely fit in, her behavior makes sense. And as she grows up, she also grows less frustrating. During their first encounters at Sedgwick, Ann and the young Lord Raoul find themselves frequently at odds and I had the sinking sensation that this story would involve hundreds of pages of Raoul “taming” her (i.e. breaking Ann’s spirit) with punishing kisses, forced seduction and all the other usual tools in an alphahole’s arsenal. Thankfully, my assumptions proved incorrect.
This is a partial review. You can find the complete text at All About Romance.