Wonderful. Simply Wonderful
Simply wonderful is how I start this review of Stella Riley’s fourth book in her Roundheads & Cavalier series, Lords of Misrule.
It is truly an excellent novel full of twists and turns that kept me guessing right to the end. Not only does it have a super plot line but also deals with the history of England in the mid-1650’s that is so often misunderstood, in a clear, concise and informative manner.
As with her other books in this series, she concentrates on one of her brilliant characters who we’ve met in previous books. In this case it’s Eden Maxwell, who isn’t the easiest of men primarily because of the raw deal life has given him. For example his marriage to Celia in Black Madonna after Eden had thought that she was the “loveliest creature that he had ever seen”. What a mistake!
We meet him in Garland of Straw and Kings Falcon where his relationships are somewhat muddled – Pheobe and Deborah . We also see him as an outstanding soldier before moving into intelligence under Thurloe where he begins to question his role and what is happening to an England ruled by Parliament under Oliver Cromwell.
So now he gets his own book and what a first class story Ms Riley has created for this sometimes awkward man.
Her heroine this time is Lydia who is typical of the strong, feisty and determined women Ms Riley writes. She is the perfect partner for Eden and Ms Riley makes this clear very early in the book – no rabbits out of hats from this writer.
The concept of Lydia opening and managing the Lorinery for injured soldiers from both sides of the conflict is brilliant – I didn’t know what a Lorinery was until I read this book – and works so well.
The plotting I thought was excellent throughout and as I have said earlier, the twists and turns make this book a real page turner. But it’s not only the plotting that is brilliant, it’s once again Riley’s ability to write characters who you care for, have empathy with and an understanding of their emotions. Her conversation pieces, particularly with her men are outstanding and truly believable.
Her ability to seamlessly bring back characters from previous books is wonderful and in this we get to once again meet her previous heroes Luciano (Black Madonna) Gabriel (Garland of Straw) and even Ashley Peverell (Kings Falcon) amongst many others along with Eden’s children with whom he has a difficult relationship that Ms Riley handles just right.
I will not spoil the plot which I think is well constructed and believable. However, what I will do is join the multitude of pleas to Stella Riley for Toby’s book because there she has someone who has a light and dark side plus is drop, dead gorgeous and someone I’d love to meet, but not in the backstreets of Genoa!
I cannot recommend this writers work highly enough. She really is an outstanding writer both with this series and her Georgian Rockliffe series.
Please, please write more.
Wonderful. Simply wonderful. Thank you.
(reviewed 13 days after purchase)