Desert Isle Keeper
Candle in the Window
Since I like “sob stories,” this is one book that plucked at my heartstrings. I’m a sucker for tales about maltreated heroines, in which the hero spends the rest of the book groveling to make amends. Yes, there are the usual problems that are inherent in every one of the romances by Ms. Dodd that I’ve read so far, but these were rather minor in the greater whole.
Officially, Lady Saura of Roget has moved to Miraval castle to become the chatelaine of this lady-less household. The real reason for her presence is to cajole Sir William into rejoining the world, as he is depressed after having been blinded in battle. Saura is perfect for the task, as she has herself been sightless since birth. In spite of the rising desire she feels, Saura refuses William’s offer of marriage after he regains his sight, since the proposal obviously must have been made out of pity.
To further complicate matters, outside the little world of William and Saura, a hidden enemy nurses his hate while orchestrating his revenge.
Saura is competent, educated, and argumentative. Although she has been blind from birth, she has been trained to work around this limitation. William is a man from a man’s world. Having to deal with blindness – his own and Saura’s – broadens his views somewhat, metaphorically speaking, but he still occasionally succumbs to being an arrogant swine empath (that’s medieval for, hey, he can be a real chauvinist pig sometimes). If he has a true fault, however, it is trusting that the face people present to the world are whole and honest.
There is more than a slight tendency to purple-ish prose here, and some anachronistic language in conversations typical in Ms. Dodd’s stories. I was willing to overlook these problems, however, because I did love this book. For other readers, this might be a stumbling block and a continued annoyance. But the writing is clear and moves the story forward; it details without excessive use of descriptive paragraphs.
The story itself is not too complicated, and I’m amazed at the ability of Saura and William to escape the villains’ clutches several times. The chief villain remained undisclosed to the reader longer than tends to be the norm in romances, which was nice. While I prefer the setting a bit more heaped with historical details, it was thorough enough to keep me from nitpicking.
Candle in the Window sneaks onto my keeper shelf, discreetly but definitely. It will be one of my tainted keepers; reads that suffer from some problems, but which are loved all the same. After all, what is a keeper if not a book you will keep and reread again and again?