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Friday, October 12, 2007

The Lily Brand

****½ The Lily Brand by Sandra Schwab. Historical romance.

I've had this one in my TBR pile for a while, having bought it based on high recommendations from friends. I wasn't disappointed.

After the death of her father, Lillian is left at the mercy of her cruel, controlling stepmother Camille. For her coming-of-age, Camille takes Lillian to the prison, where she chooses a man for her. Lillian's forced to watch and then participate in his torture, culminating in branding him with a lily to show that he's hers. The man is Troy, and he's Earl of Ravenhurst, though they never know his name.

Lillian does what she can to ease and minimize his suffering, but she's as much a prisoner as he is.
Feeling responsible, when she finally escapes, she takes Troy with her and leaves him alongside the road with her mother's locket for funds.

A year later, they're both in England, and Troy is appalled to discover that the woman his young cousin wants to marry is the woman who branded him. He'll do anything to save his cousin from her--including marrying her himself.

The story is intense and dark, as Troy struggles with his hate and anger, and Lillian with her guilt and fear. Their characterizations are very believable, particularly in how they remember what happened and in how they react and show (or don't show) their emotions.

The only reason I'm not giving this one 5 stars is that Camille is just a little bit too over-the-top evil. She's explained a bit better at the end, but if she'd been more understandable throughout, I'd have compared this to Kinsale. It did serve a purpose, though--Camille being Evil (with a capital E) put the story firmly in fantasy-land, so it wasn't as frightening a story as it would have been had I felt she was real.


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I bought this book when it first came out.....one of these days I will get around to reading it!
I'm passing this on to Sandy :)
Darla, thanks for blogging about The Lily Brand. I'm so glad to hear you've enjoyed the book!

In case you're interested, I've got some background info about the settings, the dinner party at Holland House, Murgatroyd, etc, up on my website.

Best wishes from Frankfurt,
Well darn--now I feel even worse about being so far behind on reviews that I didn't write much. I did thoroughly enjoy The Lily Brand, Sandra, and I've got Castle of the Wolf on my to-buy list.
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