TITLE – Snow in July AUTHOR – Kim Iverson Headlee GENRE – Paranormal Historical Romance PUBLICATION DATE – July 2014 LENTH (Pages/# Words) – 386 pages/94K words PUBLISHER – Pendragon Cove Press COVER DESIGNER – Natasha Brown
Sir Robert Alain de Bellencombre has been granted what every man wants: a rich English estate in exchange for his valiant service at the Battle of Hastings. To claim this reward, the Norman knight must wed the estate's Saxon heiress. Most men would leap at such an opportunity, but for Alain, who broke his vow to his dying mother by failing to protect his youngest brother in battle, it means facing more easily broken vows. But when rumors of rampant thievery, dangerous beasts, and sorcery plaguing a neighboring estate reach his ears, nothing will make him shirk duty to king and country when people's lives stand at risk. He assumes the guise of a squire to scout the land, its problems, and its lady. Lady Kendra of Edgarburh has been granted what no woman wants: a forced marriage to an enemy who may be kith or kin to the man who murdered her beloved brother.
Compounding her anguish is her failure to awaken the miraculous healing gift bequeathed by their late mother in time to save his life. Although with his dying breath, he made her promise to seek happiness above all, Kendra vows that she shall find neither comfort nor love in the arms of a Norman… unless it snows in July.
Alain is smitten by Lady Kendra from the first moment of their meeting; Kendra feels the forbidden allure of the handsome and courtly Norman "squire." But a growing evil overshadows everyone, invoking dark forces and ensnaring Kendra in a plot to overthrow the king Alain is oath-bound to serve. Kendra and Alain face a battle unlike any other as their honor, their love, their lives, and even their very souls lie in the balance.
Snow in July by Kim Iverson Headlee was truly a wonderful historical romance to read. I love that the author endeavored to keep true to history by setting this novel during the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, yet also add a mixture of magic and intrigue to entertain readers! This novel is the perfect addition to a summer reading list, especially for fans of cleaner historical romances that are not “bodice rippers”.
Alain and Kendra have an instant connection, but also seem to have insurmountable obstacles which they need to cross before they can finally be together and be happy. Alain is not honest with Kendra at the beginning, in fact, Kendra has no idea that Alain is her soon to be betrothed, as he is posing as a squire to check out the strange things that have been happening around his future English estate. Kendra is completely against marrying a Norman, as they invaded her country, and because of this her brother, whom she deeply loved and adored, was killed in battle. It takes a little bit for things between them to finally come together, and the main thing holding them back from seizing happiness were vows that made to loved ones which they were unable to fulfill. Alain and Kendra’s characters are written extremely well, and are very easy for readers to relate to. You can definitely feel their anguish and despair at losing a loved one, and feeling as though they are somewhat responsible for their death. It’s also easy to lose yourself in their romance as it grows.
There is a supernatural aspect to this novel, but it is not the main focus, so don’t let that turn you away. If anything, the supernatural element adds some additional interest to what would otherwise be just another well-written historical romance novel. I whole-heartedly recommend this novel for a great summer read that you can get completely lost in this summer. It definitely gets a FIVE out of FIVE stars from me!
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(Hero's first impression of heroine)
A young woman was standing on the staircase’s top landing as Alain approached. No, he amended, feeling his eyes widen and his blood heat, a goddess. The suggestive clinging of her grayish-blue gown made him forget his blasphemous lapse.
He shifted from foot to foot to mask his reaction. Her ashblonde curls, creamy complexion, and alluring curves conquered his fear of failure. As his heart thrummed its praises of her beauty, he vowed to protect this lady unto the ends of the earth.
But he tempered his lauds with a petition for wisdom, for he needed to ascertain her heart. Experience had taught him the folly of loving a beautiful but title-hungry woman like Marie.
Yet sorrow enveloped this lady like a shroud. The slope of her delicately boned shoulders, the tilt of her petite chin, the hooded reserve of her slate-blue eyes, the slight pout of her full lips all sang the same dirge.
Blessed Virgin, could I be the cause of her misery? Please, let it not be so!
He wanted nothing more than to gather her into his arms and kiss those lips until their song transformed from sorrow to joy.
Their gazes met. Her look, a cross between appreciation and reprimand, made him remember his “station,” and he looked down.
4 Fun Facts about Snow in July...
- The medieval-inspired interior art used as character glyphs for chapter and scene headings was created by Kim Headlee’s daughter Jessica.
- The route that the hero Alain walks between St. Mary’s Church and the tavern in Chapter 2 was adapted straight off a map of medieval Winchester, England.
- Alain wanted to name his canine ally “Seigneur Noir” (“Black Lord”), but Noir decided that was too much of a mouthful.
- The story adapts the legend that the wounded King Harold survived the Battle of Hastings and lived out the remainder of his days as a monk, and Snow in July also references the legendary manner in which Joseph of Arimathea (a merchant and contemporary of Jesus) established the first Christian church in Britain, as well as the legends of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Round Table.
Kim Headlee lives on a farm in southwestern Virginia with her family, cats, goats, Great Pyrenees goat guards, and assorted wildlife. People and creatures come and go, but the cave and the 250-year-old house ruins—the latter having been occupied as recently as the mid-twentieth century—seem to be sticking around for a while yet. She has been an award-winning novelist since 1999 (Dawnflight, first edition, Sonnet Books, Simon & Schuster) and has been studying the Arthurian Legends for nigh on half a century.