Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Seasons in the Mist by Deborah Kinnard

OH, MY! This was hands-down the best book I've read in a while. Deborah Kinnard has made me an instant fan of Medieval romance. The element of time travel would not have been my first choice of story material, to be honest. And the cover didn't quite catch my attention. For me, this was a book that sneaked up on me and seized my heart almost against my willful skepticism and doubt. And it accomplished this through the following ways.

First of all, Kinnard's masterful writing skill. She has a very distinct, enjoyable voice. She created a story world so tangible and inviting that I totally suspended my initial disbelief. In fact, she managed to get this non-sci-fi/fantasy reader to feel cascading chills in the description of her time-travel portal. And to make this writer fall in love with language all over again. And to infect me so deeply that I found myself thinking in her quaint middle English patterns of speech.

The second reason this book resonated with me is Kinnard's historical detail. Images, sights, sounds, names, customs and places became so real to me I feel a loss now that my journey to Fourteenth Century England is over. I experienced castles, the King's court, fabrics, feasts, and falcons so real that I could smell, feel and taste them. Music, hearth-baked bread, lover's kisses, the majesty of lords and ladies. . . I didn't want the living history to end.

Third and last, what made this such a fantastic read was the love story which defied space and time. I felt Bethany Lindstrom's conflict as she placed her future in God's hands, letting His sovereign will choose whether she pursue an intellectual understanding of history in the present age, or live history with all of her heart, her soul and her mind, and to offer her deepest affection to the man who had stolen her heart, only to risk her promise to marry if God should send her back to her original life. I agonized to the last pages to see what would become of her and Lord Veryan. I didn't just fall in love with the characters, I felt I had become part of their tapestry.

I really can't say enough about the book. Except to say I cannot wait for Kinnard's next. If this novel indicates her consistent skill to weave a fine tale of sweeping romance full of historical inspiration, I am her biggest fan. Bravo!

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