Monday, August 10, 2009
Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena
Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena (Rated:C)
Author Joyce DiPastena holds a degree specializing in medieval history. It’s no wonder then that she easily transports us to Poitou, France, in the year 1179 with her latest historical romance novel Illuminations of the Heart. It is the era when rivalry existed between King Henry II’s sons, and gallant swashbuckling knights rescued fair maidens from highway robberies and lecherous men.
Illuminations of the Heart is the story of Triston de Brielle, a man who still grieves the tragic loss of his wife, when Siriol de Calendri, an illuminator from Venice, shows up at his castle’s doorstep with a letter from her late brother stating that she is now his ward. Siriol’s sudden presence in his life causes an upheaval within Triston, whose past has left him a sad, volatile and tortured man—a man whose own son fears him. Nonetheless, Siriol falls in love with him, but her striking resemblance to his late wife becomes an obstacle between them. Furthermore, Triston must contend with accusations of treason and murderous revenge from his scheming neighbour, Raynor, who blames Triston for killing his sister.
The action begins right from page one and pulls the reader immediately into the story. DiPastena skilfully creates a web of intrigue, romance and revenge as the story unfolds. At times, though, I found the story to slow down, and as it is 425 pages long, I feel that had it been 100 pages less, the plot would have moved along quicker. Nevertheless, die-hard readers of historical romances will certainly enjoy this well-written novel by an expert in medieval history. In fact, I appreciated the glossary of medieval terms included in the back of the book so that I learned the meanings of such words as hauberk, portcullis and psaltery. Cool, huh?
You will want to pay careful attention to the names and roles of the main and secondary characters as well as others (from the past) mentioned as initially it can be confusing, but it will be important as the story progresses and culminates. The author ties in everything beautifully at the end, and the family tree diagram was an excellent addition toward the end of the novel. It assists the reader in seeing the whole picture and helps us to appreciate the extensive research it took to put this story together.
I’d like to thank the author for giving me the opportunity to read and review her book. I look forward to reading your next novel, Joyce!