Title: Grace, Lady of Cassio
Author: Rosemary Morris
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Mystery
England 1331. What was it like to live at a time when love was not a reason to marry, and husbands had the right to thrash their wives with a rod no wider than their thumbs? Spirited, compassionate, seventeen-year-old Grace is about to find out if her marriage will be made in heaven or hell? Her mother, Countess of Cassio, arranges for her to wed Jocelyn, Lord Lovat, Baron Montford. Grace knows marriage only founded on romantic notions is unacceptable. She agrees to tie the knot with Jocelyn to increase her family’s prestige and political alliances. Nevertheless, she is terrified of sharing a bed with the stranger she will be wed to on the day after they meet for the first time.
Until she arrives at her bridegroom’s manor, Grace has only experienced unconditional love. She is shocked by Jocelyn’s spiteful, widowed sister, and is puzzled by her own inexplicable power to see auras and know when someone she loves is in danger. Grace is even more troubled when she overhears her former nurse’s deathbed confession about the countess. Unable to decide if Nurse’s allegation is false, Grace is tormented. Fulk, her beloved twin, does not believe it is true. He ensures the other witness, a priest, will not repeat it.
A handsome husband, prestige and wealth are not enough to compensate Grace for the severe trials, including brutal murders, she must come to terms with to find happiness.
Unsure of her lot in life, Lady Grace will have to overcome her own fears, a deadly family secret, murder, and more to secure her own happiness. Young Grace knows she won't marry for love but will instead marry Jocelyn, Lord Lovat, as arranged by the two families. In an era where a man can beat his wife, Grace wonders what kind of marriage it will be. She swallows her fears and marries him. As Lady Grace, she's overwhelmed by the harsh treatment she receives from her new sister-in-law as well as her sudden ability to sense when a loved one is in trouble. She dares not tell anyone or she'll be labeled a witch. When she overhears a deathbed confession that reveals a dark family secret, she confides in her twin. What happens next will put many lives in peril. Can Grace resolve to find her own happiness, even shrouded in darkness or will she wallow in sadness?
Grace, Lady of Cassio is a historically accurate romantic mystery from start to finish. Rosemary Morris pens a wonderfully detailed story many historians and historical readers will enjoy. A woman's life in the 14th century had limited options with love being a luxury most women never experienced. There are hardships described in Grace, Lady of Cassio which are brutal (rape, murder, etc.) to read. I do give Rosemary Morris credit for accurately portraying 14th-century life. The characters are well-written with plenty of trials to overcome. My heart went out to Grace time and again. The plot is rich in detail and paced evenly. Grace, Lady of Cassio is a gripping story and will have readers thinking about it long after reading. Stark, honest portrayal, Grace, Lady of Cassio is a poignant historical mystery.
My Rating: 5 stars
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There is a gigantic canvas for a historical novelist to choose from.
I am Rosemary Morris, a best-selling historical novelist. So far, my novels are set in the early 14th century during the reign of Edward II, in that of Charles II’s niece, Queen Anne Stuart, who reigned from 1702 to 1714, and the ever-popular Regency era.
I chose those periods because each of them affected the course of history If Edward II had won the Battle of Bannockburn, it is feasible that he would have conquered Scotland and, perhaps he would not have been deposed. Had the Duke of Marlborough lost The War of Spanish Succession, and The Duke of Wellington had been defeated by Napoleon at The Battle of Waterloo, the history of Britain and that of Europe would be different. Defeat would also have had far-reaching consequences for the rest of the world.
The more I read about my chosen eras the more fascinated I become, and the more aware of the gulf between the past and present. Those who lived in the past shared the same emotions as we do, but their attitudes and way of life were in many ways very different to ours. One of the most striking examples was the social position of women and children in bygone ages.
My characters are of their time, not men, women and children dressed in costume who behave like 21st century people. My books are sensual but do not contain explicit sex.
Research of my chosen eras sparks my imagination. The seeds of my novels are sown, and from them sprout the characters and events which will shape their lives.
I was born in Kent. As a child, when I was not making up stories, my head was ‘always in a book.’
While working in a travel agency, I met my Hindu husband. He encouraged me to continue my education at Westminster College. In 1961 I and my husband, by then a barrister, moved to his birthplace, Kenya, where I lived from 1961 until 1982. After an attempted coup d’état, four of my children lived with me in an ashram in France.
Back in England, I wrote historical fiction, joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association, The Historical Novel Society, Watford Writers and on line groups, and am now published by Books We Love Ltd
Apart from writing, I enjoy classical Indian literature, reading, visiting places of historical interest, vegetarian cooking, growing organic fruit, herbs and vegetables and creative crafts.
My bookshelves are so crammed with historical non-fiction, which I use to research my novels, that if I buy a new book I have to consider getting rid of one.
Time spent with my five children and their families, most of whom live near me, is precious.
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Reviewed by: Mrs. N