Gentle Infidel by Lawrence Schoonover
In a turbulent and changing world where old orders are threatened by a new strength rising from the desert, a young warrior discovers a history he had long forgotten and must choose between two worlds.Lawrence Schoonover's powerful tale of religions and cultures challenging and testing each other on the world's greatest stage, for the highest stakes on earth.
Queen's Cross by Lawrence Schoonover
Accident, or Divine Plan? Castillian princess Isabella's unlikely inheritance of Spain's crown and her arranged marriage to a handsome, rash ally opens the door to her greatest dream: a united, powerful and enduring kingdom. This is Lawrence Schoonover's gripping and elegant story of intrigue, hard combat, and the love of a woman for her country, her religion, and her dynamic and flawed partner and husband.
I received these novels from the author's grandson for review - he is currently reprinting all of his grandfather's historical fiction, first published in the 1950s, and is hoping to publish one per year until all 9 are back in print.
I thought the novels held up well for stories originally published over 50 years ago. There are times when they do feel a bit dated - mostly due to word choices that are not as common as they used to be - but both novels were rich with history and vivid characters, and I didn't ever have the feeling that I was reading a book that was "old". Rather, it felt almost comforting, and certainly wholesome in ways that contemporary novels don't achieve. Schoonover writes a good story, and I enjoyed his take on the historical events of the time.
Both novels dealt quite a bit with the politics and battles that occupied much of the characters' time, and I admit I struggled through some of those sections - I don't enjoy descriptions of war, or the planning of war, and have trouble with that in any book I read. However, Schoonover more than made up for it with his interesting explorations of religion, race, and male-female relations throughout both novels.
Of the two, I favored Queen's Cross - its strong female lead drew my attention immediately, and I fell in love with Isabella as the story progressed. She was a strange combination of powerful and submissive, which could be due to the 50s value system Schoonover was writing within. I also LOVED her friend Beatriz - not least because that was my name in Spanish class in high school. *grin* But I definitely enjoyed both books, and would recommend them as good, clean, entertaining reads with an interesting look at a turbulent period in history.
Source: George Scott - Fountain City Publishing Company
Rating: Gentle Infidel - 7/10
Queen's Cross - 8/10
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