edited: Monday, February 26, 2007
By Beth Elaine
Not "rated" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, February 26, 2007
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This book by Madeline Hunter, published in 2000, is one of the most gripping I've ever read. It qualifies as both a historical novel and romance.
Christiana Fitwaryn grows up from a dazzled young lady throwing her life away on a worthless knight to a woman who appreciates true nobility where she finds it. I love the way Hunter uses this book to show love between two different classes of people. Instead of the usual mindless Cinderella story (and on some days, I enjoy those immensely) this is a social commentary on the shifting power of the middle ages. There's also a mystery--several, actually, neatly interwoven. Internal dialogue is minimal, and almost poetic.
There are several reasons I prefer Hunter's writing to even my favorite light romance. Because of her expertise in art, her works are filled with allusions to craftsmanship and artwork of the various periods she depicts. As an art lover, these pull me in as much as the romance. I'm also a stickler for things like witty dialogue, plots that hang well together. I don't care for characters who suddenly shift from bashful virgin to playful siren. Hunter's characters always ring true --to themselves, not to modern stereotypes. They evolve slowly rather than making abrupt and capricious shifts.
Every single Madeline Hunter is worth reading. Let the reader be warned (or assured), however, that the romance is steamy--never mindless or irresponsible, usually in the context of a one- man-one-woman-for life.
By Arrangement is loosely related to By Design, The Protector, and Lord of a Thousand Nights. All fabulous...