Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Review: Tapestry

Karen Ranney
Historical Romance/1760's
Zebra Books/May 1995
Sent to me by Lori :)

From the back cover ~


For Lady Laura Blake, there is only on man in the world: Alex, the Earl of Cardiff. Yet ever since he was wounded in battle, Alex has locked himself away in his great stone castle at Heddon Hall. Believing himself to be less than a man, he conceals his ravaged face behind a leather mask... and hides his scarred soul beneath an icy aloofness.

A mere child when he went off to war, Laura has blossomed into a beautiful young woman Alex scarcely recognizes. The compassion and desire he sees shining out of her eyes tempts him to ease his pain in her sweet, sensual embrace. But as need flames into uncontrollable passion, an evil fate conspires against them both, weaving a web of treachery and betrayal that could bring heartbreak or happiness to those who dare to love...

First I have to give a big thanks to Lori who sent me her copy of Tapestry after she reviewed it on I Just Finished Reading. She was such a sweetheart and offered to send me her copy. I took her up on the offer and was pleasantly surprised by this older historical romance's take on the beauty and the beast theme.

The story begins with Laura, the beauty, eager to act on her plan to get inside the beast's lair, certain she can persuade him to venture out among the living. Alex, the beast, is there proving the rumors of his injuries true. He wears all black, donning a mask to cover his disfigurement. Laura is not put off by his visage, only more determined to break through the walls he has put up since returning from war. Alex, is intrigued by Laura, though he does not recognize her as the childhood friend and neighbor he left behind. She has grown into a woman, with a woman's love for a man.

In Tapestry there is the basics of the beauty and the beast story. Alex was cursed by war and death, becoming a man to be feared and pitied. Laura is the light, there to bring him back from the darkness that he has fallen into. I enjoyed the way Ranney developed Laura and Alex's new relationship, making Laura the stronger of the two. It's Laura that brings Alex out of hiding and Laura that forces the issue of their physical attraction. Alex tries to hold back out of fear of her reaction to his scars but she pushes him, showing him that they do not offend her. Once they give in, look out, Alex can't get enough of Laura. He's making up for lost time. :)

Alex has lived through some horrible things in his twenty-eight years. He not only suffered terrible wounds but came into his title of earl through the deaths of his father and older brother. I got why he wanted to be left alone in his tower - people treated him like he was a monster. Who wouldn't want to hide away from the world? Even after he begins to spend time with Laura he still has this sadness about him. Moments of happiness are there but he still can't seem to allow himself to be completely happy. It's as if he knows something bad is going to happen. Self prophesy?

Laura, for her part, maintains her positive nature. She encourages Alex to become part of the world again, not only by loving him but also by challenging him to engage in the running of his estates. What she doesn't do is give up on him. And he can be a trial to deal with. If Alex were a woman you could almost say he blossoms. LOL He really does come out of hiding and begins to really live again. But of course it's too easy to end the story this way, and far too short, so Alex must go away to war and possibly never come back.

Here's where the story shows it's age a bit. It gets that old school feel to it with one tragedy after another coming at Laura. She sinks into depression and despair. She is so far removed from the Laura that we first meet who rescued Alex. Now she needs some rescuing but first... she must sink just a little farther.

This is where the story slowed down. It's like I knew what had to happen, so lets just get to it already! So, my impatience got to me a little. But even with the slow points I still enjoyed this lovely gem of a romance. Laura and Alex made for an interesting love story and I found I liked the way they played off each other. I'll certainly be reading more of Ms. Ranney's romances.

Rating: B+


  1. This always reminded me of Judith McNaught's old historicals. And it manages to work, even though if it was written today it probably wouldn't do well.

    I'm so glad you liked it :)

  2. Lori ~ Thanks a bunch for sending it.

    I love Judith McNaught historicals. Hmmm...gives me an idea for nath's re-read. :)

  3. Its been a while since I have read this book, but I loved reading it, thanks for the review, it was great, tempts me to read it again!!!:)

  4. Queen of Romance ~ you're welcome! Enjoy the re-read. :)

  5. Sounds like a great book Leslie! Good review :D I like this theme, happy-go-lucky heroines drawing out reserved heroes :D

  6. Thanks nath! It was a bit old school but hey, I'm old school. :)

  7. I read this book years and years ago and while I loved it, it was the first romance I read that made me cry.

  8. Kristie ~ Awe. That's not always a bad thing. I didn't cry but definitely felt for Laura and Alex.