06 January 2009

REVIEW: ELIZABETH LOWELL - UNTAMED


Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: Avon (March 1, 1993)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0380769530
ISBN-13: 978-0380769537

Summary:

UNVANQUISHED

A hero of the crusades , Dominic le Sabre has return to scotland in glory and in triumph to claim his reward: the beautiful Saxon bride awarded to him be the conqueror king. But Lady Margaret of the Blackthorne cannot yield to the bold Norman invader. The beloved daughter of a sacred tribe of the celtic mystics, she fears an ancient curse that could bring further turmoil to her battle-scarred land...and sorrow to her marraige bed. With a word, the lady could turn her wedding into war. But there awaits in the noble knights embrace a promise of passion unbound--and a love that neither violence nor treachery can tear asunder, a love both invincible and...UNTAMED


Review:

I have read many historical novels in my teenage years and from all those authors perhaps a dozen author’s remained on my shelves to be reread on occasion. The much beloved Medieval trilogy from Lowell are such novels and I’ve got them both in the Dutch and English language. I was in the mood for a good historical and wondered if Elizabeth could enchant me again with Dominic le Sabre and Lady Margaret of Blackthorne Keep. The teenage memories of Untamed were faded but upon reading the first page again it all came back in its rich splendor.

Lowell’s Untamed accentuates on the romantic side of the story, she doesn’t rush anything but merely allows the romance to progress in a more natural way. It bears all the signs of a classical Saxon/Norman collision of the conqueror and the conquered one. It all starts with Dominic le Sabre approaching Blackthorn Keep on his war-horse Crusader, more than ready to claim his new land, his wife-to-be and sire the heirs he so desperately wants. Now, Lady Margaret is a Glendruid and solely wants peace for her people, for the land and yes, she wants peace for herself too. Tired of seeing it all destroyed, never allowed the time for some much needed healing or spent a moment in joy, she sets her hope on her new Lord.

The plot fuses itself within the romantic storyline and provokes trouble for both Dominic and Meg (Lady Margaret). It is the dying father of Meg who wants Blackthorn Keep to go to someone else and devises a plan. In the end he loses but as he lay dying he tells Dominic of the cold and infertile Glendruid women. There are perilous times ahead, however, Dominic refuses to believe the ramblings of a dying man until Meg confirms it. Nevertheless, Dominic has a reputation of the greatest tactitioners on the battle field to let something like this defeat him. His scheming mind comes up with a subtle but very effective plan to woo his wife into falling in love with him and thereby granting him sons.

This results in an exhilarating dance fuelled by desires, hopes and dreams for a future. The scene of Dominic le Sabre hand feeding “his Falcon” or wrapping Meg up in tingling tiny bells, secured at the wrists, ankles and hips is something that is almost a hallmark scene from Untamed. After at least 15 years that image of Meg jingling with tiny bells as she walks about Blackthorn Keep, is one that might have faded but one I have always remembered. Elizabeth Lowell imbues all the characters with a defining voice and they took me back to dangerous medieval times. I was a part of the Keep’s social structure but most of all I was a part of a plain yet emotionally entangled love story.

With characters like Simon “The Loyal”, Duncan of Maxwell “The Scots Hammer”, Old Gwyn, the leman Marie and Eadith the Keep came alive. Though life there wasn’t overly described it was enough to become a canvas in the mind’s eye to create a sense of reality and authenticity. Simon and Duncan are the kind of secondary characters that hold so much more to their nature. They are men that demand attention without distracting the reader [much] from the couple Untamed is all about.

Elizabeth Lowell has placed herself among the authors whom gave the Historical genre in the 1990’s a distinctive face with her first entry in her Medieval trilogy. The conquest of love with the fierce Dominic le Sabre and with the vivaciousness of Lady Margaret this tale will forever be treasured on my shelves. In the end I did notice how much has changed in the Historical genre and what in essence remained the same. It is mostly the sexual evolving of authors that protrudes but also the linguistic side of writing that has evolved into more the language of now-a-days. Untamed soars in its simplicity but the story is executed with such finesse and eye for emotion I believe it will stand the test of time!

I don’t think many readers of the Historical genre have not read the Medieval trilogy of Elizabeth Lowell yet. Untamed, Forbidden and Enchanted is a triangular powerhouse within its genre. Upon reading Untamed I remembered there was a reason why I kept these novels from my teenage years. Untamed is a Historical delight with strong knights, courageous women and Glendruid magic!


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