Friday, May 17, 2013

IN HONOR BOUND by DeAnna Julie Dodson

by Anita Mae Draper

Have you noticed the book widget labelled OUR BOOKS! to the immediate right of this sentence? I haven't read all the books flashing through, but one of them draws me in like eye candy. Or shall I say three of them since they are a series...

It could be the ornately detailed covers. Or it could be because I enjoy historicals in all periods. Or it could be the hint of a marriage-of-convenience story in the 1st title - admittedly one of my favorite themes. Whatever the reason, I was drawn to DeAnna Julie Dodson's medieval series, The Chastelayne Trilogy.

Admittedly I downloaded Book 1 In Honor Bound as a free download. When Book 2 in the series By Love Redeemed was offered as a free download last month I snapped it up right quick too. And I can honestly say that when I flip through my to-be-read carousel on my tablet, the rich covers of this series stand out from the rest of the ordinary book covers spinning past.

Before I go any farther, I have to say unlike the innocent-looking books on DeAnna's website book page, The Chastelayne Trilogy is not for the faint-hearted. Yes, I know she appears... passive when you look at her Fun Page but don't be mislead by her pages on cats, quilting, cross stitch and barn swallows. After all . . . cats and barn swallows on the same page? Right. And if you click on The Greatest Sport Ever link, you won't see swimming or tennis or some other non-contact sport. Oh no . . . you see Hockey - a full body-contact sport. If you check way down on her hockey page, you find this delicious quote of DeAnna's:

...he was always a delight to watch on defense - especially when putting Peter Forsberg in his place (his place, of course, being on his backside on the ice). 

See what I mean. She may look like a sweet Texan who wouldn't crack a peanut, but don't let that fool you. Her skirmish and battle scenes are some of the best I've read and she doesn't hide the fact that human blood runs red. It's a wonder she can keep her vivid imagination between the covers of a book. (She does, doesn't she? I mean, what do we really know about this woman?)

I say that as a reader because In Honor Bound is a gripping tale of love won and lost in the bedroom as well as the battlefield. Tastefully and artistically written in 1997 (paperback editions displayed below), In Honor Bound is a timeless tale where events unfold in frightening detail without paying lip service to modern trends in writing. I generally don't like head-hopping but the way DeAnna writes ... coherent thoughts from different characters slip into the scene as easily as a warm spoon in ice cream.

In Honor Bound leaves the bedroom door open to the most heart-wrenching scenes that left me bawling hopelessly. Sweet scenes with soft words that caressed and soothed me with tenderness. Then without warning, curt hurting words, uttered in guilt. I cried for the person receiving it as well as the person giving it because I cared so much for both of them. That's the essence of DeAnna's three-dimensional characters - they never came out of character by jarring gesture or word or deed. They became real.

DeAnna excels at portraying deep emotions that thrum with realism. Although the situations were medieval, the relationships could and do happen every single day - then and now.

Several times I highlighted lines (on my Kindle app) which seemed particularly unforgettable:

- And every moment of closeness, every embrace, every caress was purchased at the cost of his coolness towards her the next day or, worse, his absence from her altogether.

- I did what pleased me to get the crown, thinking I could get forgiveness later. Now I've gone too far to even ask. 

- Tom took the piece of black bread he offered and wolfed it down, wincing as it scratched its way down his raw throat.

- I could have loved you.

Oh, that last one did me in and I wept for several minutes - not the first nor last time while reading this wonderful book.

Here's the back cover blurb:

His father will stop at nothing to keep the royal bloodline "pure" --even murder. But his sins have nearly destroyed Prince Philip and the future of his reign.
Forced into a political marriage, Philip tells his bride, "I will not lie to you, I will not be unfaithful to you, and I will not love you. My heart is pledged to another and I am not a man to break an oath."
His one true love is a lowly serving girl. When Philip refuses to set her aside in order to form a politically beneficial marriage, his father has the girl tried on false charges and executed. He then forces Philip to marry the beautiful and nobly born Lady Rosalynde. Devastated and embittered by his loss and his father's betrayal, Philip is determined to never love again . . . not his father, not his wife, not his God. Although Rosalynde adores him, he withholds his heart from her, refusing to let even death end his devotion to the love he lost. Despite his coldness towards her, Rosalynde is determined to love him and teach him to love her -- as determined as the God he has turned his back on. As civil war rages throughout the realm, Philip faces a greater struggle within himself. Will he open his heart to love again or let his pride destroy him and his kingdom?

You can find an excerpt of the Prologue and Chapter 1 on DeAnna's website. Check it out and see if it interests you.

Question: What was the last book that had you crying so much you had to set it down and find a tissue?

As an added bonus, the host of the Novel Characters blog is an artist and animator named Monica who draws the main characters of books as she imagines them while reading. And surprise! Today of all days, her post is Rosalynde & Philip from In Honor Bound by DeAnna Julie Dodson. In my opinion, Monica's portrayal of the two main characters from In Honor Bound are worthy of any Disney movie.

And you've probably seen this before at the bottom of DeAnna's posts but due to the nature of this post, I think it belongs here instead of my bio today:
DeAnna Julie Dodson has always been an avid reader and a lover of storytelling, whether on the page, the screen or the stage. This, along with her keen interest in history and her Christian faith, shows in her tales of love, forgiveness and triumph over adversity. A fifth-generation Texan, she makes her home north of Dallas with three spoiled cats and, when not writing, spends her free time quilting, cross stitching and watching NHL hockey. Her first books, In Honor Bound, By Love Redeemed andTo Grace Surrendered, are a trilogy of medieval romances and have just been redesigned and freshly edited for Kindle and Nook. She is also the author of the contemporary mysteries, Letters in the Attic and The Key in the Attic, and has recently signed on to write two more Annie's Attic Mystery: The Diary in the Attic, due out in Spring 2013, and The Legacy in the Attic, due that summer. Her newest books, written as Julianna Deering, are 1930s English cozies, The Drew Farthering Mysteries.  Rules of Murderand two sequels are due out from Bethany House starting Summer 2013. You can find out more about DeAnna and her books, including sample chapters, at her website:
Note from DeAnna:  I was stupidly messing with another post and accidentally erased this one.  Fortunately, it was still "up" on another screen, so I could restore it.  Thank you, Anita, for the wonderful review.  Please forgive my idiocy.   @--}-----

No problem, DeAnna. And might I point out that your signature line proves the point of this review ... passive my eye. *snicker


  1. I'm a buffoon, but I saved your comments (and mine), too. Sigh.

    Blogger Debra E. Marvin said...

    Great review Anita Mae! And I wholeheartedly agree. Because DeAnna's series was a few years in the past when she joined the Inkies, we didn't have the pleasure of focusing on them with a week of celebration. And that's a shame! I know how much Dina enjoyed them and so I was thrilled to grab them up for my Kindle as well. Love the new covers!

    You asked a tough question. I know I had some tears through In Honor Bound!

    DeAnna is an amazing writer!

    May 17, 2013 at 6:09 AM
    Blogger Anita Mae Draper said...

    Thanks Debra. Of Course nowadays some early releases are available as free downloads just prior to the author's new release in the hopes that readers are interested enough to buy the new one. And I can say that in this case, that marketing strategy worked.

    I'll be buying The Drew Fathering Mysteries based on what I know of DeAnna's writing in In Honor Bound .

    May 17, 2013 at 9:20 AM
    Blogger DeAnna Julie Dodson said...

    Drat, Anita, you've found me out!


    Ahem. Okay, I'm really the most boring person in the world, but I do like to torment my dear characters (but only the ones I love).

    Thank you so much for the wonderful review. You're too kind. Head hopping? :::blush::: Guilty as charged. I think I've gotten better in the past few years though. I hope so anyway. I didn't even know what that was back in the day. ;)

    Thanks so much for reading. The Drew books are much lighter fare, though Drew does have a revelation that shocks him and gives him some angsty moments. :D

    May 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM
    Blogger DeAnna Julie Dodson said...

    Oh, and I do love a good hockey brawl. :::VBG:::

    May 17, 2013 at 2:17 PM

  2. Gee whisikers, DeAnna... I didn't see any comments coming through so I went to work on my Author Memories blog and next thing I see is your email popping up in the corner of my screen.

    I have to admit, I've never received a 3 alarm HELP email with a multitude of exclamation points after each one before. It certainly caught my attention!

    So no harm done except for the weird triple comment to start us off. :D

    Thank you for saving it as I forgot to copy the html coding before closing out of it. That would have been ... blech ... Ha!

  3. I read this one a year or so ago, and I give it a huge thumbs up as well! Loved it.

  4. I swear I'm not as dumb as I seem! There WAS a blank post under my name in there and I ONLY erased that! Well, except obviously I didn't. Sorry again, Anita. Thank you!

    And thank you, Dina. I'm so glad you liked it. :D

  5. And thank you, Anita, for making me notice that my hockey page hasn't been updated in two years. :::blush:::

    I quickly revised it, but since the Stars are . . . not any better, it didn't take much. ;)

  6. Oh, Anita. You made me laugh. This is a great review. I loved this book, too.

  7. Thanks, Suzie!

    And DEB!!!!! In all my confusion, I forgot to thank you, too. You're too sweet!

  8. Great review Anita! That's so funny we posted on the same day. I had the hardest time deciding what to focus on for my own post. There's so much to recommend about this great story! This line also brought me to tears:

    - And every moment of closeness, every embrace, every caress was purchased at the cost of his coolness towards her the next day or, worse, his absence from her altogether.


  9. Thanks so much for stopping by, Monica! And thank you for the wonderful drawings. You're SO talented!

  10. What a review! Wowzers! Thumbs up all around for DeAnna's trilogy.

  11. Dina, that's good because it's one thing for a regular reader to love it, but quite different for another medieval author to do the same.

    Honestly, I hadn't realized the depth of our little DeAnna.

  12. You hadn't updated your hockey page in 2 years and you're blushing? I think I'm in trouble.

  13. DeAnna, I just realized I have you to blame for not answering comments yesterday... I clicked the email box to be notified if any comments are added, but I didn't get any emails. Hence, I assumed no comments.

    But you little stinker changed that when you added the first 2 comments - mine included - into one email and negated my email checker.

    So sorry about taking so long. Glad you jumped into the fray, DeAnna.

  14. Thank you for visiting us here, Monica. Your artistry is wonderful!

    I have oodles of respect for someone who can translate words into images. Yes, I know the police sketch artists do it, but your work is full of life and passion because you've infused the drawings with emotion. I can tell how the book affected you by those drawings. Kudos. :)

  15. Thanks, Susie!

    Yes, thumbs and fingers, because I can't wait to hold Book 2 in my hands. :)

  16. Thank you, Susie!

    Well, Anita, the sad thing about the hockey page is that the Stars are basically where they were two years ago. But there's always next season, eh? ;)

    All of you, you're too sweet!

    I hope you like Book Two, Anita. It's about Tom and his wife a lot, but I couldn't help torturing Philip and Rosalynde, too. You know how it goes. :::smiles sweetly:::

  17. You know the blurb description of Philip's first love as a "lowly serving girl" isn't technically correct- she was a Lady in Waiting. Not a noblewoman but not exactly a scullery maid either. Just to be pedantic!

    Philip's story is tear jerking enough , but his resemblance to the Historical Henry V, and the consideration of what happened to his dynasty in the end is also sad:(

  18. Henry's dynasty that is, not Philip's

  19. Bookish Medievalist, good catch! I actually thought the same thing when I read the part where Phillip talks about seeing her hiding behind Margaret's ladies but never thought about it again.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)


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