Lord of the Manor (Trysts and Treachery #5)


Orphaned as an infant, Cecily Neville was raised and educated by the hospitallers of her village until the reformation forced them from their homes and into hiding. Now she and the three remaining former monks live quietly, hiding their Catholicism and hoping to escape persecution. Unfortunately, Cecily has made an enemy of the new landlord of the area, Allan Smythe. Allan is still laid low over the death of his wife and child and exhausts himself with laboring on the commandery he now co-owns with his brother-in-law, Kennett Clark. Allan doesn’t have time for the distraction Cecily presents, but when Kennett decides he wants her for himself, Allan steps up to protect her, making Kennett an enemy to them both and bringing Cecily and Allan closer than either imagined.

This novel offers a unique storyline, set in a time relatively few historical novels explore, so it will be refreshing for readers looking for a break from their usual regencies. Allan and Cecily’s journey from enemies to lovers is different than most and will leave readers just as frustrated as the characters are over the course of their acquaintance. When Cecily and Allan finally stop judging each other and begin communicating, however, the relationship development between them is believable and satisfying. On the downside, there are jumps between chapters omitting scenes that could’ve otherwise been enjoyable added development to the story. These gaps may leave readers feeling a bit discombobulated. The story would’ve benefited from elaboration on the villain’s motives, but this did give Allan a chance to shine as a hero. Though some readers may be distracted by the detailed storytelling, others will adore it.

Niki Price