My rating: 4.5 of 5 gargoyles
As always, I stand in awe of Ms. Burrowes and her talent for coming up with unique and exquisitely delicate ways of dealing with some of the harshest of realities.
This is the third book in the series and it deals with Michael, who served as “the Traitor’s” assistant while he was in France doing what he was doing. Michael hasn’t been home in ten years and he left a wife behind when he fled (in part because he didn’t know how to be a husband). He comes back and finds a strong woman in place of the little girl he wed.
Brenna has suffered hideous fates over her years. Not only was she abandoned by her husband the day after they wed, but the monster who abused her was left to watch over her and Michaels’ keep.
The subplot to this story is learning the true depths of horror that not only Brenna, but many other little children (boys primarily) have suffered at the hands of the monster. For me, there was no more heart-breaking scene, or freeze-frame moment, than when one of Brenna’s brothers follows the monster into a Scottish village and sees toy soldiers abandoned by the doorstep of a house because their owner (a little boy presumably) has been summoned inside…..and the reader is left to draw their own (heart-wrenching) conclusions.
Brenna and MIchael learn about each other as they might have had he not gone away to war and gradually he finds a way to help her heal from the wrongs done her (not just the abuse as a child, but mistreatment/misjudgment as an adult as she tried to tend to Michael’s people in his absence).
The final scene, or rather probably the ultimate in heart-pulling in this book once again comes when dealing with the monster just before his story is resolved. He acknowledges that he’s a monster and seems genuinely to abhor what he does and the fact that he’s not strong enough to stop.
So in short, if you want a book that’s going to tug on all your emotions, this is definitely the book for you. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will continue reading Ms. Burrowes’ work with great delight for years to come.
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.