Book Critique – # 365: By Possession (Medievals #2)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: If you are into period setting novels with romance and mystery along-side history, books by Madeline Hunter are ones to be tried for sure.

By Possession is the second book in the Medievals series by Madeline Hunter published in September of 2000. And this is the second book for Madeline. Although this is considered the second book in the series, chronologically this is the first in the series. The plot revolves around Addis de Valence - a knight returned from Crusaders - and Moira Falkner - a common woman in the court of de Valences.

After disappearing for six years Addis de Valence, Lord of Darwendon and Barrowburgh, enters the humble cottage of Moira Falkner to claim his heir. Being a shadow at Orrick's palace she was a mere shadow for Addis to notice. However their paths have crossed time and again and now it crossed again at the biggest juncture in their lives and history of England. In claiming his heir he also claims Moira's bondwoman status thus effectively snipping her freedom despite Moira's urges that Bernard Orrick had indeed freed her. But is she free truly or enslaved to Addis through the invisible passionate connection they share? What will Moira do when Addis wants to act on that connection? As Moira and Addis deal with this, Addis also faces his fight to gain his legacy back which is rightfully his. 

The plot begins in 1324 and moves on to 1326 England. This makes the plot being set ahead of the previous book By Arrangement (My review here). Madeline also mentions about King Edward III betrothed to Philippa at the time this plot is set, providing further evidence that this plot was set in the time of King Edward II while he ruled England. Madeline also brings in the religious and political unrest at that time into the plot adding more meat to it. 

Madeline shows the perfect balance between Addis and Moira - while Addis struggles to do the right thing by his birth, Moria does the same by her birth, A struggle that they go through while fighting the love they have for each other, the future that they may or may not have, and all the external elements that influence their lives. As much as Moira wants freedom from Addis, she is also tied down to him by his possessiveness. And as much as Addis want to grant freedom, he is tied down to her by this invisible connection that had begun years ago. It is very intriguing to travel through their lives and see how they make it out in the end.

Another historical plot filled with revenge and fighting for rights surrounded by the political and religious unrest and clouded by birth rights. A very pleasant read if you are interested in both history and romance.

Spoiler Alerts:

1) Being that these are historical romances by Madeline, I was always charmed by the language she used and how different the words are used now:

a. Villein - (in medieval England) a feudal tenant entirely subject to a lord or manor to whom he paid dues and services in return for land.

b. Merchet - fine paid on a marriage during the Middle Ages in England.

c. Virgate - a varying measure of land, typically 30 acres.

d. Wimple - a cloth headdress covering the head, the neck, and the sides of the face, formerly worn by women and still worn by some nuns.

e. Specie - money in the form of coins rather than notes.

f. Reeve - Senior official with local responsibilities under British crown.

2) Grammatical / Historical / Location / Geographical / Character Errors:

a. On Pg. 142, second line there is an additional "to" in the sentence.

b. On Pg. 278, 5, line 6, there is an additional "a" in the sentence.

c. On Pg. 330, "am" is used instead of "have" in the line "I am come with a message…"

3) Wonder if any of the characters in this book will become the focus of Madeline Hunter’s books in future or at least resurface.

4) The quest to claim their lands at Harclow and seek aid from King Edward didn’t complete for the Fitzwaryns in this book. Waiting to see if there will be a future book from Madeline basing her story on Morvan and around this quest to claim Harclow.


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