Reviewer: Robyn Roberts
Title: Breath of Heaven
Author: Cindy Holby
Release Date: June 2010
Genre/Sub-genre: Medieval Romance with a touch of Fantasy
Year/Setting: Medieval England
Overall Rating: 4.75
Sexual Content Rating: Sensual
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Minimal
Cindy's Website/Blog: www.cindyholby.com
Rhys DeRemy is a battle weary, hardened warrior who happens to be a loyal subject of King Henry. Rhys was staying in the King’s London residence when he was captured in the throes of passion in a secluded alcove with a young lady. He was caught by another lady whose charms he had previously sampled. The ladies were livid and turned him over to the king to be punished.
Before Rhys could be summoned to meet with the king, he received a message from Lord Edward Chandler of Aubregate. Edward had saved Rhys’ life fourteen years prior and Rhys swore to repay him someday. Every year he received a message that Edward did not need repayment. This message, however, said that Edward needed a repayment in kind for the debt owed by Rhys. A life for a life—but what could Edward need?
In meeting with the king, Henry ordered Rhys to pick a bride within two months time. He gave permission for Rhys to go to Edward and find out what was needed. Little did Rhys know that his repayment would be to marry Edward’s daughter, Eliane. The forest and the land of Edward’s estate enchant Rhys. When he meets a feisty woman wearing leather breeches who threatens his life, her confidant nature and her striking beauty instantly charm him.
Once safely arrived at Lord Edward’s home, he learns that Edward wants him to marry Eliane before Edward dies. It’s the only way to keep her safe from the neighboring lord—the same one who tried to kill him years ago. He agrees to marry her and then discovers she is the beauty from the forest. Once they are hastily married, Rhys is almost forced to rape Eliane in order to consummate the marriage before she is snatched from him. From this auspicious beginning, they are summoned to London to meet with the king. Will Rhys and Eliane ever learn to forgive each other and move beyond the painful start of their wedding? Can they ever find love? And will Rhys ever learn the secrets of the forest and the secret of Eliane’s deformity?
This is a new style for Cindy Holby and I loved it. I love Medieval and I love fantasy, so this blending was perfect for me. I think even those readers who normally shy away from fantasy novels will enjoy this story because the fantasy piece is not the substance of the story; it’s the frosting on the cake.
Eliane is such a wonderful woman. She’s strong and has been raised in the traditions of her deceased mother as well as with the best of everything a wealthy and respected Lord can give to his only child. Eliane isn’t afraid to go hunt some meat for dinner and would gladly give up hoops skirts and frippery to be in breeches and roaming her beloved forest. She is the guardian to the secrets of the forest and she’s determined to keep those secrets a secret. There’s rumor of a treasure in the forest, but she claims the people are the treasure.
Rhys comes across in the beginning as a total cad who doesn’t care about anything or anyone. As we learn more about him, we find his devil-may-care exterior hides the heart of a prince. He instantly falls for Eliane, but won’t admit his true feelings because of his past failures. Rhys is loyal to a fault and is determined to protect Eliane at all costs.
Overall, it’s a strong story with a lot of excitement and action added in. I was surprised at the creative way Cindy Colby entwined some fantasy aspects into a delightful medieval novel. I hope this is the start of more of these historicals entwined with fantasy.
Question or comment regarding the review or the book? Click here and let Robyn know.