2 stars and a half

Historical Romance Review: Winter’s Heat by Denise Domning

Winter’s Heat, Denise Domning, Topaz, 1993, John Ennis cover art

“It may be that you will find my manner too straightforward for your tastes, but, my lord, it is just that – my manner. Would that I die before I give up that part of me.”

WINTER’S HEAT
2 1/2 stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

A medieval romance that takes medieval life seriously is usually one I enjoy, but Denise Domning’s Winter’s Heat fell a bit flat for me.

Rowena is forced into marriage with Lord Rannulf of Graistan. After a quick consummation, Rannulf leaves Rowena at his castle to deal with his surly servants, evil sister-in-law, Maeve, and his young son.

After more than 30% into the book, I realized that the hero was nowhere to be found, and I was ok with that. I enjoyed reading about Rowena’s attempts to turn Rannulf’s pigsty into a livable home.

Unfortunately once Rannulf re-enters the picture, the book doesn’t get better. Rannulf mistrusts his capable wife and only believes Maeve’s ridiculous lies. This book reminded me of the worst of the worst of Johanna Lindsey’s romances, with the hero and heroine bickering for no real reason, refusing to engage in basic communication, and making lots of love even though they hate each other.

As this was Domning’s first book, I’m willing to forgive the unsatisfying romance and read on to the next book in the Graistan series, as I did appreciate the historical authenticity. Hopefully the characterization and romance is better handled in her later works.

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