Sorry for the muddled state of some of the older posts. Mist is slaving away to reformat them ASAP ; ).


Madeline Hunter - By Possession

Every time I read a book I tell myself to write down the page numbers with passages that moved me in some way so I can quote it in the review. Of course, I never do. I usually don't regret it because I can remember certain phrases and do a search in the ebook or if it's a print book, I can recall the placement of the phrase (e.g. last paragraph on a left-sided page) and place in the book (e.g. 1st third of book) and find it that way. This time; however, there was so much richness in the story I can't even recall the specific moments I wanted to point out. Bummer for me, but a great sign for this book! I've often heard the term "meaty" in reference to stories but never gave it anything more than a passing thought until reading this book. I totally get it now.

A Common Lady
For years she had thought he was dead. Yet when Addis de Valence strode into Moira Falkner's cottage, there was no mistaking the sharp planes of his face, and the scar she herself had helped to heal. The young squire who had once been her hero was now her lord, a hardened man who returned to claim the son she had raised as her own. But Moira couldn't deny that Addis roused a passion she never thought to feel-and a perilous hope for a future that could never be....

An Uncommon Love
Addis returned from the Crusades to find his lands usurped by his stepbrother, and his country on the brink of rebellion. Determined to reclaim his birthright, Addis could not afford to be distracted by a woman-even one as tempting as Moira. Yet the only living part of his contented past lay in Moira-and his desire for her was more dangerous than his deadly battles with the king's men. By law, Moira belonged to him...but possessing her heart might be far more difficult.
Addis de Valence, Claire and Moira grew up in the same household. Addis was a few years older and when they came of age, he was betrothed to Claire. There was no love between them but duty called for the marriage. Afterwards, Addis goes away to battle and soon word comes of his death. Claire also dies leaving a son, Brian, and since Moira was her companion through most her life, she hides and cares for Addis' heir. When Addis shockingly returns a few years later, he takes Brian elsewhere for safekeeping and proceeds with plans to regain his lands - lands that were given over to his step-brother, Simon, after the death of Addis' father.

With Brian gone and her heart broken, Moira feels there is nothing left for her and decides to leave. She is stopped on the road by 3 men who attack her but is soon rescued by Addis. He decides he will not return Moira home but take her with him on his journey. It is during these travels that we witness the growing love between Addis and Moira. Unfortunately, it is an impossible situation because of their stations in life: he is a baron, she a serf. In truth, though, Moira is a free woman. Her mother was a serf who was also Patrick de Valance's (Addis' father) mistress. Upon his deathbed he gave Moira's mother and herself their freedom. When Addis returns, he only has Moira's word on the matter because the witnesses to this deathbed proclamation are no longer present at the holding. He is too intrigued with her to let her go and so he claims she is still a bondwoman and the price of her freedom is set so ridiculously high, he is sure she will be unable to pay it. Thus he keeps her bound to him unjustly. I had issue with this because for a time after the Crusades, Addis himself lived as a slave. Knowing what that life meant, how could he make Moira suffer the same fate? Those moments when he held his ownership over her were the moments I disliked him. Then in the next breath we would see how much she meant to him and how much hope she brought him and it was easy to see why he went to such desperate measures to keep her near.

Throughout the book, Addis is constantly struggling with the duties of his birth and the longing of his heart. There is a point where he speaks of feeling he has two souls waging war against each other yet when he is with Moira, he is complete and at peace. Moira struggles with the longing of her heart but also the power of her pride as that is all she truly has since she is still a bondwoman. She saw the life her mother led and heard the names the villagers called her behind her back. No matter how much she loves Addis, she refuses to follow her mother's path. She fights off the attraction as much as she can for most of the book but there are times when she allows herself to live in that moment and not worry about all the burdens they carry.

As I neared the end of the book I had to remind myself that this is a romance and a HEA is coming up. It really was down to the wire. I think that may be the only other issue I had with By Possession. With so many things weighing them down that never truly left their shoulders even in the intimate moments, I would have loved seeing more of Addis and Moira's unburdened happiness. A few more pages that showed them finally enjoying a complete union, a union made in freedom.  

Bookslut Highlights:
*No absurd denials. Heroine knows she'll probably give in after a few kisses from the hero.

*Flashbacks that show the history of the h/h.

*Comedic moment when hero realizes profession of secondary character who is a possible love interest for heroine.

*The 'other man' was not made out to be a bad guy

*Several instances of the word phallus

*Kidnapping scenario with hero ignoring all laid out plans to go rescue the damsel in distress

*True lurve of the soul-deep variety

Final Grade:

Clutching the book to my chest now as I bask in the afterglow. Exceptional…brilliant, even. I strongly recommend. You can thank me later.


Around The Net:
 The Romance Reader: 4 stars
All About Romance: B+
Romantic Times: 4.5 starts

ETA: highlights


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