Edited and cross posted from my personal blog, Pretty Pessimist.
I sat down to read Colette Gale's Bound by Honor last night and couldn't put it down. I read the first 190 pages before 1 a.m. rolled around and I had to go to bed. The first thing I did when I climbed out of bed this morning, after getting cleaned up, was to pick up the book and finish reading it. I absolutely loved this book!
So, onto the review, shall we?
"Maid Marian, now Lady of [Morlaix], is sent to the court of Prince John-not to take part in the debauchery of his Court of Pleasure, but to spy on him for his mother. Little does she know that her secret mission will thrust her into a whirlwind of intrigue, terror, and carnal temptations.
At court, Marian is torn between her duty to the queen and her desire for two men: one, the mysterious highwayman the peasants call Robin Hood, and the other, the dark, cold Sheriff of Nottingham. Given an impossible choice, she must submit to the carnality of Prince John's court in order to fulfill her duty and maintain her honor. But in the end, there is only one man for whom she will risk her life and give her heart."
From the very beginning, I felt like I was reading historical romance. Gale has excellent historical voice, while leaving enough room for modern understanding. The familiarity of the characters renders this novel comfortable, and Gale expertly takes an original turn on the whole story that left me extremely satisfied. The subtitle, "An Erotic Novel of Maid Marian" is very much the truth. This is Marian's story, not Robins of Locksley's and not William de Wendeval's (Sheriff of Nottingham). There is no mistaking this novel, however, this book is very much erotica. There is explicit sex involved and if that's not your thing, this is not your book. For those who enjoy it, or are at the very least not offended by it, Gale has sensuality down to an art.
The narration is third person and jumps around frequently -- following Marian, Robin, Will, and Alys. Still, it's extremely easy to follow and lends a multi-dimensionality the story couldn't have had, had it followed Marian alone. It allows us to understand all of the characters and how they feel, which is important to how the story turns out in the end. Had readers not been able to see things from more than Marian's perspective, the way things unfold simply wouldn't have worked as well as it does.
I simply cannot say enough good about this novel. I found myself smiling like an idiot more often than not, and when I closed the back cover, the smile didn't go away. I love that this story isn't traditional, that it's not predictable, and that the characters are original despite their historical relevance. Unfortunately, to say too much more would utterly and completely give the story away which is simply not something I would want to do. I recommend this book, but only to adults, and only those who don't get insulted by erotica. While the book is technically considered historical fiction, it skirts all the way to the brink of what's allowable as romance.
When I bought this book, I also got Master: An Erotic Novel of The Count of Monte Cristo by Colette Gale and after reading Bound by Honor: An Erotic Novel of Maid Marian, I simply cannot wait to pick that one up and see what Gale does with it, too!! If I like it, I'll be getting her first historical romance, Unmasked: An Erotic Novel of The Phantom of the Opera.