Fires of Winter
Tales of Jernaeve #2
Author – Roberta Gellis
Reviewer – Stephanie
Rating – C+; Enjoyable, Would Recommend/3 – Minimal Love Scenes
Reading Level – Historical Romance/Fiction
Pages – 554
Publisher – Sourcebooks
Release Date – November 2011
Source – Publisher in exchange for an honest review
A sparkling prize of war — The beautiful, cherished daughter of Scottish nobility. Melusine of Ulle had all the privileges of rank. But her family and her life were destroyed by the ravages of war. And her noble name made her a threat to the new king…
A loyal vassal’s reward — A bastard son of an English lord, Bruno of Jernaeve was born with nothing. But Through loyalty, cleverness, and brute strength, he carved out a spot at the right hand of the king. And to remain in favor he would do anything, even accept the hand of his enemy…
They have nothing in common and every reason to hate each other, but even in the coldest of winters one spark can ignite a fire too hot to tame.
Why I Picked It Up: The book blurb caught my attention and I was certainly in need of an historical romance fix!
What I Loved: Gellis pays a lot of attention to detail but doesn’t overdo it. As the reader, I knew what the characters, dress and settings looked like but wasn’t bogged down with the day to day activities or minute detail. I really enjoyed the fact the Gellis tells the story from both the hero and heroine’s first person point of view. Each chapter is told in alternating points of view.
What I Could Have Lived Without: It was listed in what I loved but it was a love hate relationship. Alternating points of view. Do you remember that movie that came out a few years ago with that guy from Lost? It was a movie that went back and explained the story line from each main character’s point of view. I’m going to say you probably don’t. It was terrible. It was called Vantage Point and about the 80 millionth time they went back to explain it I was ready to take extreme measures just to make it stop. I tell you this to explain that while the book alternates view points, they also go back in the story line to explain the same event from the opposite point of view. Drove me nuts towards the end. I wanted to know what was going to happen, not what had already happened! Gellis probably expected this and it definitely kept this reader hooked while slowly driving me towards insanity…..
Characters: I didn’t warm up to the characters as quickly as I usually do but over time I came to love them. Melusine and Bruno are great together even though they were forced on each other. Melusine is headstrong and calculating. Bruno is guarded but gentle. It was magic watching these two learn to love each other. Bruno’s sister Audris makes an appearance in this novel and I can’t wait to go back and read her story. Both she and Hugh had my attention when they were in the story line.
Story Line: Roberta Gellis has a great story in Fires of Winter. It is set in the 1100’s when King Stephen defeated King David and stole the crown from the inept Matilda. Both Bruno and Melusine start their stories from their individual beginnings at the start of the book and things go from there. The events that bring Melusine and Bruno together are tragic to say the least and my heart hurt for them. It would make them stronger later. The biggest conflict outside of the romance is war. I was impressed with how we learned about Bruno and Melusine as they developed and at the same time a country under a king was also raging wars and developing into what it would become. There were some pretty low points but it all worked out well in the end. It certainly made gaining a deeper relationship a harder task. (SPOILER: As a note of caution there is one scene early in the book that contains a rape scene.)
My Recommendations: If you enjoy epic historical romances, this book is a pleasant read and I’ll be reading the first in the series for sure. If you prefer you’re historical romances a little fluffier, I’d give this one a pass.