Book Reviews !
Things Medieval !
medieval romance of loss,
opulence and detours.
Silk Dreams is a
historical romance set in the time of the Byzantine
Empire with glimpses of the Norse, Greek and Arab cultures of the time
through the characters. The hero and heroine are drawn together by
chance. They must fight their backgrounds and forces separating them
while political intrigue threatens to disrupt the entire empire. The
Scandanavian woman Valdis has been banished from her homeland right
before her wedding because, being epileptic, she is considered evil and
cursed when her seizures are seen by the groom and his family. Valdis
is sold to a Greek eunuch Damian on an auction block in the Byzantine
empire who teaches her in all the arts of an Odelisque (harem) woman in
order to use her to political means within the Arab world of
Constantinople. When he hires the Nordic warrior Erik, banished also
for having committed murder, to teach Valdis Greek, will her heart and
life be in danger? Will Erik remain true to his oath to serve the
emperor? Will he protect Valdis within a world where sexual purity may
be the only thing that can protect her from a brutal culture? Will the
political intrigue of her captors interfere with Valdis and Erik's
carefully laid plans?
Dreams creates a romance where suspenseful moments inspire a
fast-paced read as historical politics and cultures clash around the
characters' personal lives. The richness of the Odalisque culture
combined with the secretive romance and sexuality heighten the passion.
The unfolding politics and loyalties magnify the suspense as Valdis and
Erik try quench their passion together yet hidden from the watchful
eyes of others.
Groe's skill shines in the details surrounding the main hero
and heroine romance. Chloe, who were basically prisoner even in an
opulent Odalisque world demonstrated such courage and strength despite
her punishment. Punished for impurity, Chloe tells Valdis not to look
at the world through what she has lost. The romance between Erick and
Valdis emerges more passionately because it is built on the grounds of
their losses and the detours. The character of Damian the eunuch was
superbly multi-faceted with all the many ways he dealt with love, women
and his manhood. I loved him despite his devious plots! The author
writes memorable secondary characters that intrigue as much as the hero
and heroine --- memorable long after the cover is closed.
In addition to the characters, Silk
Dreams provides a rich culture
and historical background for this romance. The scenes focused on with
language learning and the use of runes in the book ground the
historicity and the suspense. The stark contrast between the images of
luxury in the harem and the brutal way the culture treated women added
both atmosphere and depth to this romance. The glimpses at Christianity
through the eyes of Valdis who worshipped the Norse gods add a layer
that intrigued me. The understanding of one religion through the eyes
of another revealed both the strengths and weaknesses of each in new
ways. In Silk Dreams the reader sees three religions seen differently
through the eye of various characters.
into a harem in Constantinople’s strange
land of flashing swords and swirling silks, spicy aromas and hot
breezes that feel like a lover’s breath, Valdis is utterly lost. Her
family cast her away for seeing portents of the future, and now her
visions are turning even more ominous: They foretell the death of the
one man who could help her escape, an exiled Viking who braves the
wrath of a kingdom to awaken her passion one sinful pleasure at a time.
To save him, Valdis must play a high-stakes game of power and seduction
that will either get her killed or finally allow her and her love to
live their silk dreams.