This is All I Ask
Grade : A

There aren't too many perfect reads in this world. I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to read This Is All I Ask, and I envy those of you who have yet to read it, because you are in for a treat.

Lynn Kurland took two people - one who was horribly abused by her father, and one who lost his sight after he became a powerful man in Medieval England, and brought them together. Gillian did not meet Christopher before she was brought to him for marriage. She was terrified, having heard rumors of his practice of "dark arts". Christopher was not much better off, having only married to fulfill a promise he had made to Gillian's brother William: if William were to die, then Christopher would protect Gillian in any way he could from Gillian's father. Sounds like another "tormented hero/heroine" story, does it not? What Kurland does is focus on the changes they both make instead of dwelling on their tragedies. She does this wonderfully. She imagined perfectly how a medieval warrior would handle blindness, and how a gentle soul such as Gillian would act after being abused as she was. These two people have no reason to trust anyone, and yet gradually learn to trust each other. Both the hero and the heroine were well developed, complex, and very likeable, as is their relationship.

They start by attempting to avoid each other, and by way of an incident (without giving too much of the plot away), end up spending enough time together to fan the spark. Despite feeling as though he has nothing to offer, Christopher gives in to his intense desires for his bride. And Gillian, who discovers the secret of his blindness by accident, actually thinks it is a boon - if he can't see, he won't know how unattractive she is. Of course, she isn't unattractive and he has much to offer, and through the story they learn to love and trust each other and themselves, eventually becoming a passionate, teasing, and joyful couple. And although the sensuality rating is PG, there is quite a bit of sexual tension between them.

Kurland also created some secondary characters that were just as delightful. There is a busybody squire, an ugly and unwashed but loyal best friend, and three meddling witches, to name a few. The secondary characters were written complexly enough to add to the story without distracting from Gillian and Christopher. She also added enough history from each of the character's lives to make this story feel well rounded. Kurland made the language of the times come to life. Nothing sounded contrived, but natural.

This book has heartache (but not too much) and humor. There were times I wanted to shake either Gillian or Christopher, and times I cheered for them. I laughed, I cried. Mostly, I smiled. This book is magic. I hope that Lynn Kurland will be writing as long as her fingers can type on a keyboard.

Reviewed by Rebecca Ekmark
Grade : A
Book Type: Medieval Romance

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : March 9, 1998

Publication Date: 2000

Review Tags: blind disability slow burn

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