Friday Favorites #12: Loyalty's Web

Friday Favorites is a weekly meme hosted here, that spotlights a favorite author, book, series, publisher, cover, blog, etc. Basically whatever bookish thing that you love, recommend, and want to tell others about. Just pick one and link up to my post each Friday to share. You can use the graphic I used above, the other one here, or your own.

This week I've decided to spotlight an old favorite of mine. I don't know that I was expecting a lot when I picked this up back in 2009. It was a book my mom had on her shelves that she had picked up from one of her ANWA (American Night Writers Association) conventions. My mom has been working on her writing for years and I think she is so brave. It's tough alone to try to write something, but then even harder to take to a group of ladies (some of which are published) and let them critique it over and over. Anyway, this was one of the books she had and I grabbed it to read on one of my visits. I was so very pleasantly surprised because I absolutely loved it!

Loyalty's Web
by Joyce DiPastena
YA Historical Romance
November 1st 2008 by Leatherwood Press (first published June 26th 2007)

Goodreads summary:
In twelfth-century France, King Henry II of England has just finished crushing a rebellion by his power-hungry sons and now seeks to tame the lawless barons who supported them in this corner of his “Angevin empire.” To this end, the king has sent the Earl of Gunthar as his royal representative to ensure that Prince Richard and his former cohorts faithfully adhere to the terms of the peace treaty.

Far from being welcomed with open arms, Gunthar no sooner steps foot in the county of Poitou than he is greeted by a series of assassination attempts. All appear to be linked to the former rebellious prince through the agents of the family and friends of young Heléne de Laurant. A clever, intrepid young woman, she realizes that the only way to prove her loved ones’ innocence is by exposing the true assassin. Heléne races against time—and dark secrets of the past—to unmask the killer before the kingdom plunges back into war.

Fierce determination gives way to mutual attraction as Heléne and Gunthar spar over the identity of the traitor. But their blinding magnetism almost causes them to overlook an even deadlier threat from an entirely unexpected direction.

What I thought:
This was a fantastic read! There is intrigue, adventure, disguises, betrayal, and romance. The writing, characters, and plot are all excellent.

Heléne is maybe a little naive (she has really only known her own home and a neighbor's), but she is feisty. She dresses in boys clothing when she wants to go out shooting. She is somewhat of a tomboy due to her running around with her childhood friend, a neighboring landholder's son. She is also extremely passionate, loyal, and loves her family dearly. She has never been in love and is a little thrown by Gunthar. The conversations and sparing between the two are probably the favorite part of this book for me. You can feel the tension, but there are several humorous moments as well. Gunthar is a very strong male character, which definitely fits the time period, as well as his background and role. He is also very intelligent and experienced as he is older than Heléne and has been a soldier much of his life. They make a fabulous couple. There is also Heléne's sister. She plays such an interesting role and there are so many secrets regarding her.

The plot moves at a good pace. I wasn't sure who all were villains and to what extent. Towards the end something rather shocking happens and I didn't see it coming. I love it when authors can surprise me like that. I really loved how the story progresses, the historical setting, and how it concludes. The characters have to work for their happy ending, but that always makes it so much more worth it.

I normally would say that if you love historical romance that you should read this, and you definitely should if you do, but really I think anyone who enjoys reading YA and NA would love this book.

Content: There is some violence (expected for the story and time period), but I would consider this clean.

Purchase from:

About the Author
(from Goodreads)

I am the author of three "sweet" medieval romances, Loyalty's Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist), Illuminations of the Heart (past RWA Heart of the West Winner, and a 2009 Whitney Award Finalist), and Dangerous Favor (2012 release). I've also written a short medieval Christmas story titled "An Epiphany Gift for Robin" published in the Christmas anthology, Stolen Christmas and Other Stories of the Season, also available as a "single" on Smashwords.

You can find Joyce here: 

Just an FYI that this is only $5 from Barnes and Noble. I think it is definitely worth that. I will probably be giving away a copy in a future giveaway. Have your read this? Do you have a favorite to share this week?
Disclosure: This post contains an affiliate link. If you make a purchase of any type using this link, I receive a small kickback.

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