While on my way to Salem for a little sailing adventure, I finally wrapped up reading Lady Gwendolyn by Magnolia Belle.
As one might expect, Lady Gwendolyn takes place during the Middle Ages, specifically in Northern England and Scotland. The book starts with Lady Gwendolyn off to Scotland to wed the son of Lord Dewar. But on their way, the caravan is attacked. Gwendolyn’s maid, Madeleine, switches cloaks with her. Gwendolyn escapes, though seriously injured by an arrow, and the bandits take Madeleine as their prisoner, thinking she’s Lady Gwendolyn. From there, the novel soldiers on with plenty of plot twists, suspense, and adventure.
Really, Lady Gwendolyn is a novel written in that classic historical fiction manner. It has action, adventure, romance, suspense, murder, betrayal… and none of it feels forced. It’s all tied together nicely. The cast of characters range from poor kitchen maids, heroic knights, old women, powerful lords, loyal guards, and even innkeepers willing to lend someone in trouble a hand. And they all have their own unique voices and never fall into stereotypical stock characters.
As for the romance, it’s well done. It’s obvious that Belle is a fan of that particular genre, but it’s not the heaving bosoms and throbbing manhoods sort of romance. It lacks all that cheese and feels a lot more real and genuine. Tiny spoiler: There is a bit of Stockholm Syndrome that goes on between Maddy and one of the captors, but it doesn’t come across as weird or unbelievable. In fact, it’s an interesting twist and enjoyable to see unfold.
As for the ending, it’s pretty tidy. All the threads you’ve been reading during the course of the story are finally travelled together and there’s a few surprise reveals at the very end that I didn’t see coming. What surprised me even more was who the lynchpin was for the entire plot.
I recommend Lady Gwendolyn to anyone who enjoys classic historical adventure novels. You can pick up a copy for Kindle, paperback, and hardcover.