Wednesday, November 25, 2009

For My Lady's Heart

Laura KinsaleLaura Kinsale is one of the most overlooked, by readers, and highly regarded by critics and scholars, of historical romance writers of all time.

When people talk about Kinsale, Flowers from the Storm and The Shadow and the Star are what they remember. But for me, it's always been For My Lady's Heart (FMLH) and Shadowheart. FMLH is one of the few seminal books that have changed me as a reader.

Every time a historical book is released, online chatter indicates impassioned debates over the historical particulars, whether the author got them right, misused a nuance here or there, or trampled her way into the modern era. There's not one naysayer about Kinsale's research. She not only gets the pulse of the period right, she seems to live it, to breathe it.

For My Lady's Heart by Laura KinsaleIn FMLH for example, you would think Gryngolet was from her own mews, she'd herself donned the armor Ruck wore, luxuriated in palaces in Melanthe's stead, and traveled back in time to witness sword battles from atop a horse.

For the most part, FMLH is a story of a man and a woman in the forest alone. But around them, swirl the undercurrents of political turmoil, emotional blackmail, obsessive love, medieval chivalric thought, and singular people with passionate beliefs.

The prose is extravagantly dark and gloriously uplifting at the same time.

And...the characters talk in Middle English and Old Frnch. For a writer of medieval stories this is the sort of thing that reduces me to babbling incoherence: "WOW! OMG!"

In case you haven't realized, I love, love, love this book.

Have you read any books by Laura Kinsale? If so, which ones are your favorites? What do you think of her books?


Amanda McCabe said...

You know the deep and abiding love I have for these books, LOL!

Keira Soleore said...

Yes. We're both in complete agreement here. I hadn't appreciated them when I first read Shadowheart many, many years ago. Then I read FMLH, and it all came together. Since then I've been a huge LK fan. I recently re-read everything I could buy, and a marvelous time was had by me... :)