Steel & Lace edited by Francine Howarth [Book Review]
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I occasionally stray into genres that aren’t my preferred ones, usually to widen my reading experience and learn a little more about writing different sort of stories. Historical romance is one of the areas that I have entirely avoided, until now. I’ve had a prejudice against it, worrying that there will be a pinkwash over the history from the rose-tinted spectacles of damsel heroine lusting after her bare chested highlander. There was none of that in Steel & Lace, all the history was spot on, although there was just a little bit of lust.
Steel & Lace
I picked up Steel & Lace on kindle because it was free and I had previously read one of the authors historical fiction and really enjoyed it. Steel & Lace is an anthology of short stories and some extracts from novels. They’re almost all set in the 17th Century, which is a period that really interests me. There’s a rich social history, with a heavy vein of progressive thinking that looks advanced even by today’s standards, although mostly it was suppressed, eventually.
Each of the excerpts is self-contained and I found myself wrapped up in the mysteries. I need to go buy Anna Belfrage’s time slip series to read how the 21st century Alex finds herself in the 17th Century with the Grahams. I also need to pick up some Francine Howarth and Anita Seymour, their stories had me gripped, even though I’m not a fan of the royalists. I’ve already got all of M.J. Logue’s output, and I enjoyed her spin-off story from the Uncivil Wars that leads into her Restoration series.
So I’d recommend this to people that like 17th Century tales, there are no rose-tinted bare chested highlanders ready to ravish. What you get are a collection of well crafted stories with three dimensional characters living in a time of deceit, mystery and danger, with real people.