by Madeline Hunter

Septemeber 2000
ISBN: 0-553-58221-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

A scarred hero

A proud woman

A gift of freedom

A love beautiful and pure

In By Possession Madeline Hunter shows the reader once more, in a story that is not just about love but about belonging and tolerance towards other cultures and their beliefs, a side of England in the Middle Ages that is so very different to the usual, very often sugarcoated, portrayal.

Addis de Valence returns from the Crusades to find his wife and father dead and himself a father to a boy who was looked after during his absence by Moira Falkner, his late wife's shadow.

While away his stepbrother usurped his lands and his title and Addis needs to face his peoples' and society's expectation to reclaim what is rightfully his - but finding no peace in the knowledge of being a lord and accepting his duty. For the feeling of peace and calm Addis needs Moira, as she is the only person left from happier times - without her he would fall apart. So even feeling scared of his need for Moira there is no way that he'd let her out of his sight.

With Addis' son Brian taken from her, Moira feels lost and sets out to find a new purpose to her life only to be thwarted by Addis' refusal to acknowledge her status of a free woman and to be forced back into the position of his bondwoman - not a servant but still Addis' possession and his to command.

Moira remembering her childhood awe, her infatuation for Addis finds herself bound to him by law, separated by society and drawn to him in passion.

I count myself lucky to have been introduced to some truly amazing new voices in historical romance writing. With a love for medieval romance stories, the likes of Isolde Martyn, Tina St. John and now Madeline Hunter have provided me with an abundance of reading material that is more than just an afternoon or evening's entertainment.

Stories like Madeline Hunter's By Possession touch a side in me that yearns for chivalrous knights and strong woman taming those warriors, but they also satisfy my hunger for a well researched and crafted story, a story that brings to life history in a way that feels like being transported into the time and place. And even though some readers might find Madeline Hunter's stories too demanding I find them very rewarding, too.

She presents the reader with a complex experience of her chosen period in history, drawing her readers into her story with characters elegantly and vividly described and seducing them with haunting beauty and serene spirituality, only to provide the reader unknowingly with a huge amount of historical details.

Madeline Hunter's strong voice compels the readers to immerse themselves, trusting the writer's competency to accurately portrait the chosen historical period, into a story of beauty, courage and passion. With a language that is poetic and powerful, the reader is cloaked in its warms, with the senses caressed and awakened to a palate of lush and sensual sensory details.

Each scene comes across like an old painting, some of subtle beauty, some rich and lush in their colors, others realistic and brutal - all of them powerful in their imagery, in how they enthrall the reader to step closer to take a second look, to see behind what is obvious to the hidden passions and yearnings for (impossible?) dreams and hopes.

What can I say, I love medieval romance novels and Madeline Hunter's are up with the best and most loved ones. I highly recommend By Possession as all of her other novels.

Reviewed in November 2001 by Kris Alice.

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