Thursday, August 09, 2012

Review: Rebel by Linda Windsor

Brides of Alba series, book 3

The Brides of Alba series by Linda Windsor is a fantastical mix of early church history, early science, and, of course what we love best here at EIR: romance.  


 With Merlin dead, the succession undecided, and the Celtic church on the defensive from Rome, intrigue sweeps the court of the High King Arthur. But it’s battlefield news that consumes Queen Gwenhyfar’s young scribe, Kella O’Toole: her fiancĂ© is dead and her father gone missing. Determined to find him at all costs, Kella defies the queen’s orders and sets out for Pictish territory. Her foster brother Alyn, a disillusioned priest who questions his calling, agrees to help her. The journey itself is perilous. But it’s their secrets that land Kella and Alyn in a viper’s nest of treachery that threatens both their lives and the future of Albion. Can they summon the love and faith they need to find their way not only out of danger, but into happiness? Brilliantly researched, vividly imagined, and movingly written—a memorable climax to the Brides of Alba series.


The romance comes AFTER the wedding. Loved how it developed, loved how sensitive Alyn was to Kella's needs. Loved how Kella's character arc accomplished what needed to be done to make it all gel in a believable way.

This romance is edgy. There's an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, irritating clergy & royals, non Christians who are actually not villians (wow. go figure!), pagans who convert... and those who don't.

And finally: Strong. Female. Leads. (amen.) and Men. Who. Get it. (yes!)


Some of the historical spellings were a little difficult to get used to, but after a while they settled down in my head.


This book is LONG and will be a big time commitment, but if this time period intrigues you, it's totally worth it. If, however, you're seeking a cool easy read for that last weekend by the pool, you might want to look elsewhere.

Brides of Alba Book 1
I committed to reading REBEL, released this past June, because I read the first book of this series a while back and LOVED it!  I couldn't, however, commit to writing my usual sort of review, because I could not wrap my mind around how to do it in a spoiler-free way. Hence, this format! 

Brides of Alba Book 2
This sort of book isn't for everyone, but for those of you who love all-things-Arthurian and those who are fans of historical fantasy, I'd give this series a hearty recommendation. 

Keep in mind, however, that the "fantasy" aspect is more early science combined with miraculous spiritual intervention than "magic." This isn't the Merlin you know from other Arthurian tales. <grins>But I like this version better than many I've seen. 

It isn't necessary to read the other two books in the series in order to like this one, but if you have or are willing to start at the beginning of the Brides of Alba series, you might find the Brittania in Rebel a little more comfortable place to live. 

And just FYI: the guys are pretty swoon worthy, too. Sword and staff-wielding hero types. Ahhhh.

And PS: a big WOOT! to Linda Windsor for allowing a certain young priest to grow out his hair. Well done. Not sure I could've loved him as well if he'd kept the tonsure. Shallow, I know, but there it is!


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