Why did I love this book?
I first picked up this book at a house where I was babysitting–and I couldn’t put it down. The next day I went to Waldenbooks (yes, I am that old), and bought a copy. This was the novel that sparked my love for medieval fiction and romance as well. I read it at least three times. You could say it stole my heart when I was sixteen.
The story takes place during the Norman conquest of England in 1066. As a teenager in the 70s who didn’t know anything about history before Vietnam, I was enthralled. It was also the first romance novel I’d ever read—but definitely not the last. Yes, the love story is a bit cliché, though Woodiwiss, who practically invented the romance novel, avoided explicit sexual content in her books, unlike romance novels of today. The historical descriptions of the time period are well-drawn, and the male romantic lead Wulfgar is no courtly gentleman but a fierce warrior with a lot of rough edges and bad manners—at first, anyway. I may feel totally different about this book if I read it today, but at the time, it lit a fire in my heart.