Title: The Innocent * Author: Bertrice Small * Publisher: Fawcett Books *
Pages: 374 * Genre : Romance * Rated 5 stars
The innocent by Bertrice Small tells the story of Eleanor de Montfort who is called Elf by her friends and family. After her mother’s death Elf is left in the care of her older brother.
Richard De Montfort recently became engaged to a woman named Isleen de Warenne. He wants to keep Elf with him but is persuaded by Isleen and her parents that it’s best to send Elf to a convent. So Elf is sent to St. Frideswide’s.
At first she doesn’t like it, but she eventually adjust to life there and is even planning on taking her vow as a nun. She is surprised when she is ordered back home to Ashlin due to her brother who is gravely ill and not long for this world.
Richard dies leaving Ashlind to Elf.
Elf intends to hand over Ashlind to the church and continue in her plans in becoming a nun. But her plans are dashed when Saer de Bude, Isleen’s cousin and lover accuses her of having sex with him in hopes that he can marry Elf and become Lord of Ashlind.
Elf and the nuns at St. Frideswide manage to convince King Stephen that Saer de Bude is a liar and that Isleen had poisoned Richard.
Saer de Bude is sent to Blois, and Isleen is banished to live the rest of her life in a nunnery, but she manages to escaping, not spending a single day in the convent.
Elf doesn’t have to marry Saer de Bude, but she is forced to marry a knight named Ranulf de Glandeville. Love blossom between her and new husband, but can they truly be happy with Isleen on the loose?
I have been reading a lot of nonfiction as of late. So I decided that I needed something lite to pick up. I decided to re-read The Innocent by Bertrice Small. I read this book several years ago, but I definitely needed a refresher on it. I am happy that I decided to pick it up again.
I am finding that I am liking the second read on it better than the first. This is not my first book of Bertrice Small. One of things that I like about Small’s book is that she adds history to it.
This particular book takes place during the reign King Henry II. Though when the story first start King Stephen is in power. In this book I didn’t find any historical inaccuracies. The characters in this story were certainly interacting with royalty in this, but they were doing it in a way that it didn’t change history. I can’t say that for all her books, but it certainly rings true for this one.
I love the characterizations in this book. I think that Small writes the best villains. Isleen de Warenne, Saer de Bude, and Marien ap Owen certainly made their mark in this story. I don’t think that villians should be warm and fuzzy. Villains are villains because they go against what society expects of them. Their actions are supposed to make you feel uncomfortable. Hence Isleen poisoning her husband, or when Merin AP Owen and his men gang bang Isleen) Who by the way enjoying every minute. Or when Saer de Bude plots to rape Elf in order to marry her and ultimately get Ashlin.
I think it’s safe to say that When Small writes dark characters she doesn’t cut any corners or plays it safe.
I did enjoy the pairing of Elf and Ranulf, but I have to admit that I thought she and Merin AP Owen had some big time chemistry. At one point in the story Elf did admit that if she was not with Ranulf she would be tempted by Merin AP Owen.
I think that in a way that Small was trying to reform Merin AP Owen character. I think that he turned out to be a better person towards the end when he discovered that he could love.
I highly recommend this book, though I do warn that there are triggers like rape and general dark themes. So if your sensitive to that then you should pass on this.