Review by Catherine HudsonSince the increase in Indie book sales, many authors are getting their rights back to older books, perhaps now out of print. From there, some are re-working them, and as a reader, I wondered how the changes translate our particular market.
Lady at Arms by Tamara Leigh is an example of a novel re-written to suit the standards of the CBA market, after being distributed in the general market. It is classed as a ‘clean read’ re-write of the 1994 Bantam Books bestseller, Warrior Bride.
Lady at Arms did not disappoint as a historical romance. I was transported to Medieval times where knights served their King with valour and honour and ladies were—well, Ladies.
Lizanne Balmaine and Ranulf Wardieu cross paths as a result of the cruellest of twists, making for an intriguing story of love, revenge and greed. I was instantly taken with Lady Lizanne, even for her faults, which constantly invite trouble and fly in the face of what is expected of her. Ranulf is a man of honour, patience, and an iron will, who finds himself caught up with the headstrong Lizanne. The story delivered all that I expected with sword fights, fast-paced chases on horse back, and more than one case of trickery employed to win a battle. Of course King Henry and Eleanor have their moment—and quite the moment it is for these characters.
The plot was fast-paced and kept me reading with just enough historical dialect/words to add flavour. Due to its original printing, there were changes of point of view that differ from our usual writing craft standards, but I felt that they were smooth and did not effect my enjoyment of this tale.
The faith element was handled with subtlety, in a way that was believable for the era, but that places it in my mind as a suitable read for the CBA market. The sexual tension of the young couple remained, but was in no way offensive or explicit. The character arc of both Lizanne and Ranulf fitted my reader expectations, leaving me with a satisfying ending, and a desire to read the next in the series—which I promptly did.
Lady at Arms is a great example of the sort of ‘clean-read’ re-writes that I hope to see coming from other authors. I found that the following books in the series, Lady of Eve and Lady of Fire, did not disappoint, either. Tamara Leigh has handled the stories with care and retained her plot lines while weaving a believable, simplistic spiritual arc into her characters lives—taking us along for the ride.