I teased about another author interview a couple of weeks ago, and today is the day! Adriana Girolami was kind enough to provide me with a copy of her book, Revenge of the Knights Templar in exchange for an honest review.
Summary from Goodreads
Paperback, 254 pages
Published January 15th 2013
by Mitchell Morris Publishing
Polyxena arrives at the castle of the Duke of Lorengar-Lorraine only to discover that the arranged marriage to her prospective husband has been foiled. The Duke has been killed in a coup d’etat. She is immediately captured, held in isolation, and commanded to marry to the new Duke, a cruel man who rules with a combination of force and fear.
A mysterious knight hears of the strength, plans, and determination of this beautiful woman, and comes to her aid. He knows she faces many obstacles and counter-plots, but he would be willing to risk his life to protect hers, not only for the sake of her people…but his own heart.
It is in the darkest of hours that Polyxena’s strength and courage shines, as her skill of the sword comes in handy against her enemies, and she finds the real meaning of true love in a honorable and noble knight.
The odds are against them, death and despair come from all sides…the two will risk their lives and love for the country they share.
I'm a huge fan of historical romance, so naturally the idea of a romance set during the middle ages intrigued me. I do want to make a note on Girolami's style however, since it was something of a surprise for me. The story is very descriptive and uses somewhat formalized language. At first, I found it hard to get into, but as I was reading, I came to like it because it added a sense of the dramatic to the novel and made for an entertaining read. The novel starts out with Polyxena discovering that her father, the Duke of Nemours, has arranged her marriage to Duke Arsenio. However, before Polyxena even reaches her new home, her husband (they were married by proxy) is murdered, leaving Polyxena in hostile territory with only Arsenio's men Phillip and Duccio to protect her now that she is the Duchess of Lorengar-Lorraine.
Polyxena is determined to do what she can to protect the people of the dukedom from Arsenio's evil cousin, who is currently ruling the dukedom and using Polyxena as a puppet head to exert his own power over the realm. The man is really contemptible--bloodthirsty, heartless, cowardly and self indulgent. I was quite delighted when Polyxena killed his evil hunting bird because it foreshadowed the duke's own demise. Plus, Polyxena kicked butt in that scene, which I apprecitated. I really admired how brave and strong Polyxena was, and I love it when women actually kick butt in novels. I wasn't expecting that from a historical romance, but I'm certainly not complaining. I liked that the novel has just enough action to keep you turning the pages to unravel the mystery that is also at the center of the story.
Who is the Unknown Templar? Why was Duke Arsenio's body so mysteriously shrouded at his funeral? These are questions that the reader can't help but muse on while reading, but that are not immediately unanswered. Personally, I got distracted from these mysteries because of Arsenio's cousin who continually tried to seduce Polyxena and was constantly terrorizing the people. I kept wondering how Polyxena would stay ahead of this madman. And then, Polyxena's romance with Duccio (which I thought rather unexpected and sweet) really threw me off of the mystery of who was behind the uprising of the people in the dukedom.
Since there is an element of mystery in the story, and also because I personally hate spoilers, I won't tease too much more about Polyxena's romance. I'll just say she gets her HEA. Although, it is a rather unexpected one as well....
3 glittering stars
Interview with Adriana Girolami