by Claire Gutierrez
A lowly maidservant. A disguised fugitive. A savior to the poor and endangered. A queen.
Such is the paradox of Lady Caterina Tabor, an extraordinary young girl who, en route to England, finds herself captured and at the mercy of a stern and powerful lord. Forced to work as a common kitchen maid in the dank halls of Dermoth Castle, Caty dreams of her past as a free and autonomous maiden with a bright future in the English courts—did fate have other plans?
This early trial is but the first in a litany of shocking tribulations; imprisoned, abused, accused of sorcery, and kidnapped, Caty’s life is for so long anything but charmed—but you can’t keep a soaring heart shackled. As we follow this misunderstood maiden’s journey through both the unexpected, electrifying joys of new love and the pain of mind-boggling adversity, we become eyewitnesses to the astonishing way she not only transforms herself but enchants, inspires, and invigorates those around her.
Spanning decades of castle life, treacherous journeys, bloody battles, and heartache, Come Winter is a sweeping yet personal tale of a brave woman who at once embodies and transcends the prescribed and oftentimes oppressive roles her society demanded. Let Clare Gutierrez (author of Dancing with the Boss) curate your voyage back to the Scottish highlands of ages past—a time and place in which simply staying alive constituted a noble adventure, and becoming a patron of the oppressed and the impoverished could make you a hallowed queen.
Ever so often, and not nearly as often as my longing heart would desire, I stumble across a true diamond amongst the many crystals and gemstones that make their way to my desk. When I read the synopsis for Come Winter, it sounded intriguing.
Once I opened the book and began to fall into the spell of the first lines of the story, I realized that this was going to be something more than just another historical novel. Within pages I knew I had found a master of the written word. The words seemed to have slid off her pen and onto the written page with a magic all their own. They wove their own tapestry and came off the page in such imagery that my mind’s eye was a rolling screen throughout the story.
Clare Gutierrez demonstrated a great appreciation for the plight of noble women during the early midddle ages when they were but chattel of their lords and kings, to be traded and passed on as part and parcel of the holdings. Though this subject has been demonstrated in many a novel, I have never seen it set as the central theme, nor presented so passionately through the eyes of a woman of noble birth as it was in Come Winter.
Katy, the heroine of the book, was a woman of strength, a lady of great passion and one who had the capability to love deeply. She was a unique lady of her time, having received a well-rounded education, speaking several languages, reading and writing in the same, a healer, and a leader. But because she was a woman, she was but an item to be owned, to be traded and bartered by parent, captor, until she finally obtained the highest position that a woman could obtain, Queen. Even when she reach this vaulted position, she found she was still but a possession, a captive, and at the pleasure of her lord and master, the king. She would never be free.
Clare took the time to develop her characters to give them the breath of life and to allow the reader to see what it was to live, through their eyes. We learned to feel their pain and despair as well as their joys and ecstasies. The POV was not limited to that of Katy, but also that of the men who were a part of her adult life through the years. It added an additional dimension to the characters, giving them well-rounded perspectives and allowing the narrative to provide a complete picture of the story as it moved ever forward through the years, first from France to Scotland, then to Spain and finally to Italy. A FIVE STAR read!!!!
SPRING BLOG HOP PARTICIPANTS:
Each of the participants will highlight their favorite read this spring. This is your chance to add to your stack of TBR books. I am always looking for new authors and new books!!!!