Kate's Reviews > Uncommon Vows

Uncommon Vows by Mary Jo Putney
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's review
Oct 04, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: historical-romance
Read from October 02 to 03, 2010

** spoiler alert ** I liked that this was a medieval setting. A lot. Medieval is tough, and I thought Putney did an excellent job setting up the novel historically. Unfortunately, I just didn't buy the relationship.

***Some Spoilers May Be Ahoy***

Meriel losing her memory, I believed. Meriel immediately falling in love with Adrian at first sight afterward, I did NOT believe. At the least, he should have had to woo her. I can understand why she wouldn't be as frightened of him as she was at first, but she still doesn't know him. I suppose the child-like innocence explains that (it's mentioned several times) but I didn't buy it. Maybe it was just the suddenness..

There was a lot of religion in this book, which is understandable for medieval times. Sadly, it seemed to matter mostly to Meriel and Adrian separately, quoting of scripture during love-making aside. They only pray together when Meriel has lost her memory.

I had issues with both the hero and the heroine. I don't know how Adrian could have redeemed himself for me to forgive the sexual violence early on. I see his remorse, I see that he has demons.. but I don't think he ever actually faced them. By that point, Meriel has lost her memory and he uses her to heal himself rather than dealing with it on his own. And yet, he claims to have 'atoned' and feels perfectly comfortable marrying her with her ignorance. That really disturbed me.

Meriel's determination not to give in to him was admirable, but for being a woman of a lower noble rank, she certainly didn't know how to behave around a nobleman when she first meets them. A side note: Meriel without her memory turned into this happy, bubbly child. Adrian says he loves her 'spirit', but she was so docile in her childlike state that when her memory came back (minus, of course, everything that had happened since she threw herself out the window), it was shocking to see her go back to the harsh, get-the-hell-away-from-me Meriel. The two just did not mesh for me. Add that to Meriel's insistence on continually exploring forests on her own when we are told what dangerous country this is, and I couldn't figure her out. I know human beings are complex, complicated, often contradictory creatures. But I felt like she hated Adrian.. except when she didn't.

It wasn't that it was easy for her to accept that she loved him, but I don't feel like she was given a chance to love him. She even thinks about Adrian's dueling sides in her cell, but I would have been more comfortable if she had been able to get to know Adrian in all his good and bad parts at once, while accepting them both.

Needless to say, I didn't buy the HEA 100%. But, honestly, I'm not sure exactly what would have sold me on it. Maybe after discussing it with friends who've already read it, I can figure it out.


Summary: This was a beautifully written novel, with excellent historical detail and an interesting story aside from the romance. However, I couldn't get past Adrian's treatment of Meriel and Meriel's easy shifting between love and hate.

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10/02/2010 page 253

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