The South-West of England in the late Fourteenth Century. Zelda, daughter of a falconer in the service of Sir Hugh, suspects that the lord of the manor is attracted to her. At home, she is being pressed to accept the attentions of Matthew, an apprentice mason.
When Zelda’s ill-judged scheme to seduce Hugh goes disastrously wrong, she fears herself out of favour. But the incident leaves Hugh with the burgeoning sense that he has an alternative to his loveless engagement to the refined Lady Rosalind. He pursues his falconer’s daughter, not foreseeing the consequences of his actions.
Their dalliance becomes complicated by Zelda’s realisation that she is expecting Hugh’s child. The involvement of Hugh’s son Arthur and his companion, the young nobleman, Guy, only serves to muddle matters further.
Zelda’s ambition to become a falconess is eclipsed by her desire to be a mother to Hugh’s child. But the impetuous Rosalind has other ideas. Can Zelda escape the fate that the noblewoman plans for her? Will she ever truly possess her Knight?
From the beginning, I was a bit confused at the choice of romance. Zelda seemed to be overcome by Hugh so quickly, I would almost think it was a love potion.
The romance itself was well written, once I got over how quickly everything seemed to be happening. But therein lies the rub. While the first section of the book really seemed to bring int the best in the characters, the second seemed to almost forget about their development.
I found myself hard-pressed to put this book down once I started it; the novel is a quick read and almost addictive. I loved the idea of falconry itself and a female falconer, as stated in the novel “it’s just not done”. The lengths that Zelda goes to in this novel to find happiness is amazing. She has so many setbacks and hardships, that I found myself on the edge of my seat to find out how she’d get out of her latest scrape.
My main issue with the novel was, as I previously mentioned, the discrepancies of the characters. Zelda would at first be a spunky, outspoken girl then turn around transforming into a very demur, quiet, and one dimensional. The whiplash this caused me from page to page was hard to handle.
Although I did enjoy the book, the writing was wonderful in its descriptions and design, I just wish Zelda and Hugh were fleshed out a bit more so their sudden personality changes would make more sense to me.
Catherine E. Chapman is a UK-based author of women’s fiction and contemporary and historical romantic fiction. Some of Catherine’s longer works have been described as accessible character fiction; humour is often an important ingredient. Catherine’s historical romances range in setting from Medieval times to the Twentieth Century. Her seven short historical romances are available individually and in digital and print anthologies.