Monday, October 13, 2008

Prisoner of the Flames-Dawn MacTavish

Prisoner of the Flames
Dawn MacTavish
Leisure, Nov 2008, $6.99
ISBN: 9780843959826

When he was a baby, Robert Mack survived a fire though he would take exception with the word survive. The left side of his face was left scarred from the flames. Anyone who sees his visage either shows pity or horror. Robert loathes both so he wears a helm to hide his severely marked face.

Unable to cope any longer with the reactions, in 1562 as the Laird of Berwickshire, Robert travels to Paris to persuade renowned healer Nostradamus to mend his face so he can go out in public or even in his home without wearing a mask. However France is a divided country on the verge of a religious civil war in which the teenage King Francis II seems to weak to prevent. In that milieu, Robert saves the life of blind flower girl Violette Cherier, which leaves him with powerful enemies who want the foreign Good Samaritan dead.

This is a superb historical romance starring two wonderful protagonist who have physical problems that threaten as much as the French Religious War to keep them apart. The action-packed story line uses real persona and a period of dangerous unrest as a backdrop to the excellent love story. Robert and Violette are fully developed with each used to coping with their handicap, but neither knows what to do about their attraction. However, even with a top rate romance that moves the Phantom of the Opera to the sixteenth century, it is the history and the protagonists who make PRISONER OF THE FLAME one of the sub-genres top novels of the year.

Harriet Klausner


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