Saturday, December 6, 2008

By The Sword by Alison Stuart

By The Sword by Alison Stuart won the 2008 Eppie award in the historical romance category. It is the story of a young widow, Kate Ashley, who struggles to carve a life for herself and her young son during the turbulence of war in the era of Charles II. Through her late husband’s family, she inherits the impoverished mansionestate and stately home called Seven Ways in Worcestershire England. But the estate is in disrepair and to restore it will cost a great deal. Nevertheless, she perseveres.

She encounters royalist, Jonathan Thornton, who is exiled and a wanted man. Stephen Prescott, a harsh parliamentarian swears to capture the elusive Thornton and bring him to justice. But the past will not be forgotten and Jonathan faces Prescott in a deadly fight over a long lost love.

The novel begins with a powerful opening – Prescott executes a young man in Jonathan’s troop. Because of Jonathan’s involvement with the Royalists, he has lost his inheritance and his freedom as he spends his time eluding capture.

This is historical romance is well written with a strong focus on history. The foils of war are clearly portrayed and tempered with the blooming romance of Jonathan and Kate. The relationship between the characters are well developed and believable. The courage of both the heroine and hero keep the reader transfixed. It is not surprising the novel won such a prestigious award.

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