5 stars

Historical Romance Review: Uncommon Vows by Mary Jo Putney

Uncommon Vows,, Mary Jo Putney, Onyx, 1991
Uncommon Vows, Mary Jo Putney, Onyx, 1991, cover artist unknown

“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.”


5 stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve read Mary Jo Putney’s Uncommon Vows several times and have always loved this passionate medieval story about obsessive love.

The Plot

Lord Adrian was set for a life of priesthood when a family death changes his destiny. Lady Meriel seemed fated for a life in a nunnery. But twists and turns made it, so neither of these things came to pass. Instead, Adrian becomes the Earl of Shropshire and Meriel renounces her calling to live under the protection of her brother, a knight.

One day Adrian comes upon Meriel in a field and believes her to be a commoner. Adrian becomes so fixated with Meriel’s stunning beauty. He takes her captive. Meriel, who is half-Welsh, deeply values her freedom and cannot understand how Adrian supposedly loves her if he keeps her prisoner.

She refuses Adrian’s attempts to seduce her so virulently, she throws herself out a stained-glass window, causing her to lose her memory. Without all the baggage hanging on, Adrian is able to woo Muriel into loving him. But will her feelings remain the same when her memory returns?

When writing about the Medieval Era, many authors avoid religion, treating it as a third rail topic. Here, it’s used uniquely and romantically as Adrian and Muriel cite phrases from the Bible, namely the Song of Solomon, to each other during their lovemaking. It works beautifully and poetically to enhance this thrilling love story.

Final Analysis of Uncommon Vows

Uncommon Vows is a fantastic battle of wills with a hero who is obsessed with the heroine and will do anything to have her and a heroine who refuses to submit to her enemy. Putney’s writing is at her best here, but maybe it’s because she so often borrows from one of the most poetic books ever written!

PS: I wish Putney had written a sequel about Adrian’s illegitimate brother. Does anyone know if she ever did?

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