June 10, 2011
In The Aerie Of The Wolf by Leonora Pruner
Anne Crofton is a beautiful young lady with a very remarkable feature, she has long silver hair. She has become betrothed to a man she has never met, who lives in a land where no one rarely travels. Against her parents better wishes, they agree, how could they not, her dowry price was far and beyond what would ever could be expected for a second born daughter, even one who is as beautiful as Anne is.
Traveling the perilous and long journey to the Aerie, Anne befriends her betrothed's right hand, Old Samson, whose burly demeanor is welcomed by Anne. He quells her fears that she wouldn't be liked by her new intended and left on the mountainside with nothing but the clothes on her back. Upon arriving at the Aerie, she, along with her maid Polly and her two guards, Smithson and Heath, settle in to their very comfortable and homey rooms. The woman are surprised to find an exact replica of her room back home, reinvented into this location. The two conclude that her husband-to-be must be a kind and generous man to have been so thoughtful.
Anne is determined to meet, Lord Wolverton, Andrew Lupus, and is chagrined when she is unable to arrange such a meeting. Their first "happenstance" meeting is in a moonlit garden where they exchange pleasantries, however, Anne is unable to get a clear picture of him before he disappears as quickly as he came. Their second meeting, though much better, still leaves Anne undetermined to what her fiance looks like and they are to be married the following morning. However, before that occurs, the pastor is poisoned, Andrew has to leave to get another and Anne is left in an unknown castle with very few people around her in which she can trust.
There are many secrets at the Aerie, like the one where the family were rumored to be werewolves, or how the ancient picture in the art gallery looks remarkably like Anne and why all the townspeople and castle folk are scarred and/or disfigured. Traipsing through hidden tunnels, secret passages and keeping her wits about her, Anne must determine what is the truth and what are lies and follow her heart to place where all things work out for the best.
I really enjoyed this love story! I liked all the mystery and inuendos that the author shares, enough to keep you guessing even though you believe you suspect the truth. This alone kept me turning the pages. I liked how the love story wasn't all mushy/gushy, well, except for the ending, but its realistic in its approach, the innocence of Anne's situation is believable. I liked Anne, she wasn't a "damsel in distress" type of nobility, even though she is a bit girly girl at times, she found it appalling that she should remove her hoops from her skirts, even though she does comply, it is against her better judgement. Anne comes from pomp and circumstance type of society and is bewildered by the familiarity and joviality of the staff and townsfolks.
Old Samson's language in conversation wasn't the easiest to read, you had to reread the sentences several times whenever he was speaking, to catch the gist of his meaning and sometimes you just gave up and glossed over. Even though his language was hard pressed to understand, the character of Samson is loveable.
When someone from Anne's past comes to stay, Anne is unsure of the choices she must make. I didn't understand her passion for this person, it was needed as an antagonist to the love story, I suppose, I just don't think it was required, there was already enough mystery involved with the keep itself to have written many ways without bringing in the "voice from the past" aspect into the story.
Though there is a slight Christian slant at the beginning of the book, the ending is wrought with it, taking something from the story. While the love of God is good, less is more when you have a love story that have werewolves even hinted at, in its plot. The message would have been more poignant had the author used it with more subtly involved. All in all, it was worth a read and I would recommend it to any who like a good love story with mystery in a historical setting.
Another intriguing and uplifting novel from the author of Close to His Heart, Leonora Pruner has a gift for storytelling and creating compelling characters. Set in 18th century England, our heroine Anne is betrothed to a man she's never met and must leave behind her girlhood fantasies. When she arrives at the home of Lord Wolverton, Master of the Wolf's Aerie, the mysteries and challenges of her new life cause her to seek Biblical wisdom and guidance concerning honor, integrity, and faithfulness. In this story of the discovery of true love, there is also danger, betrayal, and sword fighting and it all takes place in a castle complete with secret passageways. Become lost in another time and place. You will not want to put this book down.