The Heart of the Rose

Kathryn Meyer Griffith
The Heart of the Rose
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Publisher
Kathryn Meyer Griffith
Release Date
November 2015
ISBN
1519133960
Genre
Historical Novel with Romantic Elements, Historical Romance

SUMMARY
Bronwyn is kind and resourceful, a healer ahead of her time who cares for her aging father and two young sisters. She can entrance a man with her sweet voice, the beauty of her face. She's an impoverished peasant who lives in the dark, suspicious times of fifteenth-century England where such a woman is feared. Witches are believed to be everywhere, waiting to ensnare a powerful man…like Edward the Fourth of England, who comes across her one day singing in a tavern and makes her his mistress.

Edward's powerful adversary, The Earl of Warwick, seeks to take over the throne of England. Bronwyn is torn between the two; one she loves, the other she loathes. One cherishes her, the other wants to possess and control her. As battle lines form, and the country is torn apart by political upheaval and bloody carnage, the two sides wrestle for the crown. Who will she end up with? When she's condemned to burn as a witch, which man will save her and which will let her die?

Book Review by Kathryn (reviewer)
Jun 22, 2011   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
163 people found the following review helpful
The fifteenth century was a perilous time to live unless you were born to a life of silver and velvet. Even wealthy women were little more than their husband's property. So, a woman born to serve others often lived a life of poverty and want

Bronwyn is all-too-familiar with want. She and her father and sisters are nearly starving, and the winter is cruel. But Bronwyn has a secret that she is forced to hide so as not to be branded a witch. Though she is a kind and resourceful healer, way ahead of her time, she also possesses the ability to entrance a man with her sweet voice, and her beauty. Beauty which causes others less fortunate to be jealous of her. Witches are believed to be everywhere, waiting to ensnare a powerful man… and it takes very little to brand a woman a witch.

Bronwyn is both fortunate, and unlucky, to attract the attention of Edward the Fourth of England, who comes across her one day when she is singing in a tavern. Entranced by the lovely female, he woos her gently, and eventually makes her his mistress.

Unfortunately, Edward's powerful adversary, The Earl of Warwick, who seeks to take over the throne of England, also desires to possess and control Bronwyn. It becomes an obsession with him. And as battle lines form, tearing the country apart with political upheaval and bloody carnage, the two sides wrestle for the crown. Though Bronwyn attempts to make the best of her situation, she is still little more than a pawn in a deadly gambit for power, and her gifts only cause her trouble and grief.

Though THE HEART OF THE ROSE is labeled as a romance, I found it too dark and depressing to fit the category. I also found most of the supporting characters lacking in depth and dimension. For example, the kindhearted, but unappreciated, wife and her greedy tavern owner husband are so predictable, they are practically clichés. And the Earl of Warwick's cruel treatment of Bronwyn effectively reduced him to the level of a cartoon villain totally lacking in motivation for his actions. I have no problem with characters doing bad things as long as they attempt to justify their actions in their own mind. Unfortunately, Warwick couldn't even do that.

If a reader seeks a true romance, I cannot recommend THE HEART OF THE ROSE. But if a reader is not a stickler for historical accuracy and likes stories that are sprinkled with a touch of the paranormal, you could find THE HEART OF THE ROSE a satisfying read. I would've given this story a 3.5 star rating, if possible.

Updated:

Author's Note: THE HEART OF THE ROSE was a Leisure Books paperback and it was the very first novel I ever wrote...began 39 years ago, first published in 1985 and now in 2011 rereleased. Because it was my first novel and the times it was published in, it was more of a bodice-ripper...that explains why it's so dark. I wanted to call it King's Witch. It was never meant to be a full-blown romance or even a historical as the main character is totally fictional.
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