My True Love by Karen Ranney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
To most women, meeting the man of their dreams occurs only figuratively. Not so with Anne Sinclair, daughter of the Laird of Dunniwerth.
As a child of eight, Anne caught her first glimpse of a boy she knew only as Stephen, hailing from some unknown place called Langlinais. No mere dream, her vision came as a glimmering, fishbowl-like window into his world. For the next 15 years, Anne glimpses through this weird portal Stephen's anguish and joy, his triumphs and defeats, his interests and a few of his secrets as he grows to manhood.
With each new vision, Anne's heart grows inexorably closer to his. Never once does Stephen seem aware of her presence, but Anne knows that she must one day embark upon a quest to find this mysterious man. Their predestined meeting would forever change the course of both their lives, as well as the lives of those around them.
Stephen Harrington, 17th earl of Langlinais and commander of the "Blessed Regiment" cavalry squad, has grown weary of supporting his king, Charles I, in what he secretly considered a losing cause. Defying the king's command, Stephen returns home after a battle to bury his dead and nurse a festering wound.
Stephen doesn't count upon meeting the woman of his dreams -- in the figurative sense -- as Anne flees across his own lands from an enemy patrol. Rescuing her proves far easier than divining her secrets, such as why Anne traveled onto English soil to seek him out. Falling in love with her seems only natural at first, until the king's Parliamentarian enemies threaten to drive a wedge between them that even love cannot hope to surmount.
The first 90 percent of My True Love tells an engrossing tale of forbidden love amidst the uncertainty of war. Then, inexplicably, the dramatic tension slackens for a while, only to be artificially heightened by the inadequately explained actions of Anne's father -- almost as if to pad out the novel to the requisite length. A couple of other plot elements, such as the fate of a secondary character, suffer from similar mishandling. Otherwise, Ms. Ranney delivers an enjoyable read.
Just be careful the hot spots don't singe your fingertips.
(Originally published in Crescent Blues. Reprinted with permission.)
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