The Running Vixen by Elizabeth Chadwick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Elizabeth Chadwick's THE RUNNING VIXEN, the sequel to her debut novel THE WILD HUNT, is much more than just another historical romance. Instead it's a vibrant and often moving story of the loving relationship that develops between two opposed characters, supported by a rich historical backdrop that most authors have difficulty in achieving.
Many of the supporting characters return from THE WILD HUNT and Chadwick has lost none of her ability to bring the Norman era to life. From melees and tournaments to cross-Channel trips and rides around the Welsh border, her story is never less than alive and full-bodied. The protagonists are likeable and, crucially, believable, and their developing romance is both poignant and devoid of cliche.
One of Chadwick's particular strengths lies in the richness of the historical detail that she brings to the table and I can think of few authors who achieve the level of seemingly effortless realism evident in this novel. Another aspect I really like is that the harshness of the era is evident in the plotting; there's no sugar-coated fantasy here. Instead of dragging the mood of the story down, however, these dark inroads merely add to the novel's themes of love, sacrifice and understanding.
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