When your destiny lies far from where you began …
The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.
The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.
Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.
When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?
Sometimes it is not easy when a book is really good because life in the middle ages wasn't that easy and people, especially women didn't have many rights, at least not when it came to things like love and marriage. Alright, this was the one thing where the lower classes might have had more choices then those living at court although I don't know enough about that to be sure.
Okay, the hard part here was to feel and to see how much some people mean to each other just to have the king and his queen sweep in thinking that they know much better and that they shgould ignore everybody's wishes just, well, they know better, you know?
It's like everybody else must be a child with no sense of right and wrong and no knowledge of their own mind no matter how old they are and how much they already experienced. It drove me to distraction. First I was so furious that I wanted to rate this book with less stars because of it then I realised that it is not the author's fault that she described things too vividly and made me feel too well with the hero and the heroine, well, of course it is her fault and her intention as well but it's not her fault that life in those times was a bit different. Don't shoot the messenger, right? Obviously the author did a very good job here, describing everything in a very intense and very personal manner, letting us feel with her characters and hope and despair with them.
Throughout the book you get a feeling of authenticity, facts are skillfully interwoven with fictional parts, forming a wonderful and delightful story.
I must admit that I was worried because for a rather long time I wasn't sure that there would be a HEA, for a (long) while things didn't looked hat well for Steinar and Catriona and - alright, I was really upset. But believe me, I wasn't upset at all, when she finally got rid of this so-called fiancé of hers, no, not at all. This man...nope. She's definitely better off without him.
This book takes you right back to the middle ages, telling a wonderful story of love and friendship at a time where love wasn't meant to be. A time where a woman was considered not much more than a prize and even a man more often than not had no say in who he wanted to have as a partner for life. A time of war, of hardship, of raids and murder.
Probably that is exactly what makes these times so fascinating for us because it is so much different from our life and Regan Walker does a fine job of evoking those times for us in this book.
I really enjoyed reading this book and can whole-heartedly recommend it!