Friday, July 22, 2016

Review for Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee

Snow in July - Book Cover

Snow in July
by Kim Iverson Headlee 

Publisher:  Pendragon Cove Press
Release Date: July 7, 2016
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Length: 386 Pages
Cover Designer: Natasha Brown

About the book:

Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady.

Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother.
Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman… unless it snows in July.

Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.

An Anglophile since childhood, I jumped at the chance to read and review Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee because of the historical period and setting.  Set in the 11th Century, during the battle of Hastings, Ms. Headlee’s story is filled with knights, ladies, battle scenes, magic, and political upheaval.  If you’re a fan of Medieval history and romance, then this is a story you will no doubt enjoy.

Beginning with the Battle of Hastings between Duke William II of Normandy and Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, Ms. Headlee introduces us to her primary character, Sir Robert “Alain”de Bellencombre, a Norman knight who has sworn to fight for Duke William and at the same time protect his younger brother.  I liked “Alain” right from the start; he’s noble, honorable and is a man of his word.  He’s the kind of guy you would want as a friend guarding your back.  Born a second son, “Alain” hopes to be rewarded for his service to his king, but didn’t count on the king rewarding him via a marriage contract to a Saxon lady.  No political dummy, William knows to keep the peace that the Normans and Saxons will need to intermarry and he’ll kill two birds with one stone by marrying his knights to wealthy, titled Saxon  ladies whose inheritance will stabilize his kingdom. 

We are soon introduced to the second main character, Lady Kendra of Edgarburh, the Saxon lady promised to “Alain” as a reward.  The only living child of her father, her husband will inherit all of her father’s lands upon his death.  I also liked Kendra from the beginning; beautiful, honorable and a gifted healer, she’s also suffering from a terrible loss – her only brother was killed on his way home from the battle of Hastings (he had fought for King Harold) and she fears being married to a Norman would be a betrayal to her brother.  Especially since she and her father believe her brother was killed by one of “enemy”.

While neither character is eager for marriage, they are bound by a king’s order and a father’s promise and determination to keep his people safe.  Ms. Headlee does a good job with the historical setting and with maintaining the tension between the characters as they are placed in difficult situations.  Keeping their promises Alain and Kendra find themselves facing thieves, kidnappers, treachery and even sorcery, while attempting to fight their growing attraction to each other.

Ms. Headlee also does a good job developing the secondary characters and I especially liked meeting Ruaud, Alain’s closest friend, who made me laugh, and Waldron, Kendra’s father, who really cared about his daughter and the people he oversaw.  The villains of the story were also well developed and fairly colorful – both in language and mode of dress.  The mystery of who is behind all of the trouble was well written and the story takes several unexpected twists and turns, although I knew the identity of the villain in charge almost right from the start.

Will Alain be able to rescue Kendra when she is kidnapped?  Will Alain and Kendra allow their growing attraction to turn into love?  Will Alain and Kendra be able to help heal a nation made up of two different peoples?  You’ll have to read Snow in July to find out.  I enjoyed it and look forward to reading more of Ms. Headlee’s work.

My Rating:  4 out of 5 Crowns

FTC Disclosure:  I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour with My Family's Heart for a fair and honest review.  

1 comment:

  1. My goodness, what a fantastic, detailed review! I'm glad you liked Snow in July, and it's now on sale for $0.99!
    All my warmest wishes,
    Kim Headlee
    Stories make us greater.