I am not a woman who has read a lot of romance novels in my life although I am a diehard romantic (albeit a cynical one currently) at heart. Only within the last two years have I begun to read a fair amount of romance and chick lit because of the authors I have become acquainted with online. Although my bedroom walls are lined with prints of knights and fair maidens painted by Edmund Blair Leighton, Sir Frederic William Burton and Sir Frank Dicksee, I have never known such love as is depicted in those legendary paintings, and perhaps that is why I am so drawn to medieval history and historical romance. My favourite novels are the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and my heritage is German/Celtic. My maternal grandmother was of Scottish heritage and her maiden name was Clyde. Braveheart is one of my all-time favourite movies.
So, it was with great eagerness and curiosity that I looked forward to reading His Woman by Diana Cosby – a historical romance set in 1297 Scotland when the rebel and martyr Sir William Wallace still lived. His Woman is the often frustrating and eye-rolling story of Lady Isabel Adair and her one true, but supposedly unobtainable love, Sir Duncan MacGruder.
The story begins with Isabel having sacrificed her life’s happiness to save her father’s life by becoming the mistress of the evil, English Earl, Frasyer, who having known her betrothed Duncan since childhood and being intensely jealous of him wanted nothing more but to have Isabel so that Duncan could not. When Isabel’s father, Lord Caelin, succumbs to alcoholism and gambling after his wife’s death, he loses so much money that his home will be lost and most likely his life, unless he agrees to pay the debt with Isabel as his currency.
While this book is pleasurable to peruse, as well as passionate, Lady Isabel Adair is a bit of an infuriating character for most of the story because her behaviour and the choices she makes present her as foolish in so many ways. I just wanted to slap her most of the time. She wasn’t a heroine I could identify with in any way because she didn’t feel she could trust the man she professed to love.
“Exhaustion weighed heavy on her soul. She was so tired of lies. Of living in a veiled prison unable to help those she loved. She hated feeling torn, aware that the truth would shatter what little feelings Duncan held toward her.
How else could he react when he learned she’d turned away from him in the face of a personal tragedy. A man as proud as Duncan would not see her actions as saving his life, but an issue of trust.
A fragile trust she’d chosen to break.”
Duh! Of course he would.
This is the basis of the entire novel. Using the main characters, Cosby repeats questions over and over again and anyone who has half a brain could figure out the answers to them without knowing the twist that the ending holds. That part is quite good, I must say.
Sir Duncan MacGruder and his brothers Seathan and Alexander are interesting, dynamic characters and I loved the description of their grandmother’s tower chamber in Lochshire Castle with all its faery splendor and magic. However, just because Isabel has whisky hair, amber eyes (features which are nauseatingly repeated too frequently), a slim curvy figure, and they were childhood sweethearts, doesn’t seem to be enough reason for Duncan’s willingness to risk his life over and over for her sake once his promise to her dying brother Symon has been fulfilled. Why was resisting her impossible? I don’t get that part. The whole adventure starts to seem quite far-fetched and I found myself rolling my eyes more than once.
Not until near the end of the novel is there any sex that might correspond with a cover that depicts the hard, broad chest of a naked man with a castle in the background. However, when Cosby does get to the major sex scene between Isabel and Duncan, its’ description, while rather delicious, is nothing that I haven’t read before.
The last third of the novel is the best part and if you have the patience to read that far, you won’t be sorry that you finished it.
I would read more of Diana Cosby’s work because I think she has the talent to produce something far superior to His Woman and I’ll wait for it.