The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge
November 22, 2016
(print $6.50, ebook available Dec 1, $4.99)
I can’t get over how much I enjoyed this book! To be perfectly honest, Medieval romance is a little out of the ordinary for me–the gowns and gallantry of the Regency period are irresistible to me– but I was so happy to read Elisabeth Hobbes’ The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge.
Hobbes’ story reads like a romance novel and historical adventure novel all rolled into one. The relationship between Constance and Aeleric, long-lost lovers divided by war and loyalty, is very sweet and compelling while the revenge story keeps the narrative moving along nicely.
Set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Norman Invasion, the book nicely incorporates historical fact with modern storytelling. In a refashioning of Romeo and Juliet (thankfully with a much happier ending), Hobbes’ romantic couple meet when both are in their teens and are on opposite sides of the divide. Constance is a Norman, while Aeleric is the youngest son of the recently-deposed Saxon leader. To make matters more complicated, Constance’s brother-in-law, a delightfully Machiavellian Norman lord, is the one who took the land and killed Aeleric’s father and brothers. Aeleric thirsts for revenge, but bound by a vow made to Constance, he cannot kill her brother-in-law.
The story picks up seven years after the character’s initial meeting and the terrible events that shape the rest of the novel. The characters encounter each other again, both having suffered a great deal in the intermitting years. Constance and Aeleric no longer trust each other, but are drawn together by their past, their mutual hate for the Norman lord, and the continued passion that burns deep between them.
Aeleric is a remarkable hero– he’s wounded and angry, but his tenderness and gentleness continue to shine through despite the terrible things that have happened to him. Aeleric wrestles over important moral questions, battling between honoring his word to Constance or honoring the memories of his fallen family. A real strength to the book is Aeleric’s introspection, which allows the readers to really understand his internal conflict and feel deeply for him.
Constance is an admirable character, as well. She was born with a deformed leg and her fortitude in overcoming that difficulty, in addition to the abuse she received at the hands of her brother-in-law and dead husband, make her an appealing heroine. She is aptly named because despite all the knocks against her, she continues to feel very deeply and truly for those she cares about.
If you’re looking for explicit sex scenes, this isn’t the book for you. However, the book does not suffer from the lack of down-and-dirty sex scenes. Constance’s relationship to sex is complicated; she was shown little kindness by her husband and was conditioned to view her body as a bargaining chip for her safety. Hobbes does an excellent job of depicting how a woman recovering from, essentially, many years of marital rape, might be able to find intimacy again with a partner she loves. The sex scenes are not really described in detail, but that in and of itself is appealing. Does anyone remember that part in Titanic where Jack and Rose have sex in the car and all you see is the hand on the window, sliding down the steamed-glass? The sex in The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge is kind of like that: somewhat obscured, but nonetheless steamy.
I highly recommend this book. If you like medieval romance novels, stories like Romeo and Juliet or Robin Hood, or are just looking to read a sweet and interesting story, The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge is for you. I look forward to reading more Elisabeth Hobbes books in the future!
Also, did you know? We’re giving away a free copy of The Saxon Outlaw’s Revenge, as well as FIVE other new releases from Harlequin!! Enter our giveaway here!!