Saturday, 23 May 2009

The Lily Brand by Sandra Schwab

I'm a couple of days late with this one, so this is my TBR book for May, published in July 2005.

Troy Sacheverell is captured in France - a prisoner of war - he is sold to an evil woman to be a toy for her stepdaughter. Lillian wishes to escape her stepmother's clutches but it will not be so easy to get away from the twisted woman. Lillian ends up in England and through a twist of fate ends up married to Troy but their relationship is far from smooth and Camille - Lillian's stepmother - isn't finished with either of them.

Hmmm. I picked this up a while ago after reading a couple of favourable reviews. I've said it before, but will say it again, I'm not a big historicals fan and this one really didn't work for me.

At the beginning of the story, Troy is terribly abused by Lillian's stepmother and by association (for him) Lillian herself. I found the abuse disturbing - which I guess is the point.

Lillian takes refuge in stock phrases during times of stress - "What do you want of me?", "He's my responsibility". She is emotionally distant, in contrast Troy is full of anger that he vents in her direction. This doesn't seem to make him feel any better and he punches things a lot. Hence one of my problems with the story - it is very melodramatic.

My other problem - I know in an historical you have to allow for the traditions and etiquette of the time, but if at any point Lilly and Troy had just talked to each other...I guess it would have been a much shorter story. It's only towards the end when Troy and Lilly finally talk to one another that Troy is able to acknowledge Lilly was as much a victim as he was.
I think this is one of the shortest reviews I've written, but there isn't really much more I want to say, other than to mention the part of the book I enjoyed. I've ungraded this review because the book hasn't really convinced me to start reading historicals again.

I did however like the introduction of Drake and Justin, Troy's friends who are in a relationship. Troy tries to protect them and gives them a haven at his home where they can be together without fear of discovery. The two of them add a much needed humanizing touch to the story and it's Lilly's discovery of them in an embrace that is my favourite scene in the book. She finally realizes there is such a thing as love.


Anonymous said...

I've found this author very melodramatic too.

Jill D. said...

It's so funny, because your review is so short, but reading it, for some reason it appeals to me. Go figure. I guess I read the word 'melodramatic' and I seem to be intrigued. No wonder why my TBR pile keeps growing leaps and bounds. I think I might have to research this one. What time period is it?

LesleyW said...

Anon - I like my melodrama in slightly more measured doses.

Jill - It's early 1800's, I don't have the book to hand at the moment. But if you want to read it, send me your address and I'll post my copy to you. It's a well-read copy, but it's still got all its pages. I had to pick it up second-hand as it was very difficult to get hold of at the time.

My e-mail addy is

lesley7312 at yahoo dot com