THEIRS WAS AN AGE OF PASSION AND PAGEANTRY
The lovely Lady Audris, whose delicate fingers weave fables of the future unto her tapestries, whose special gifts and radiant beauty set her apart in an enchanted age. And the knight they call Hugh Licorne. In service to his king ... a hero in an age of heroes ... a princely suitor for Lady Audris -- even though she cannot have him. Against all odds, they dare to search for love ... the lady who has sworn not to marry ... and the knight who has vowed to win her heart…
Tapestry of Dreams is the prequel to Fires of Winter. I happened to read that one first and was then curious to know more about Hugh and Audris who show up as secondary characters.
Set during the Stephen and Matilda wars and especially during the Scottish invasions of 1137 and 1138 about which there’s an author’s note the story begins by introducing Jernaeve, a place between Scotland and England where Audris lives under her uncle’s protection and from time to time receiving the visits of her half brother Bruno. On one of his visits he is accompanied by his friend Hugh Licorne. Hugh is an orphan who doesn’t know is parents. Both young men feel deeply the fact that they have neither riches nor land to call their own.
Audris is somewhat different from other heroines of the time, she is sheltered yes but her main occupation is weaving tapestries and she has none of those feminine gifts like cooking, healing or ordering the keep. Since Hugh is introduced as a friend of her beloved brother there’s immediate warmth is their relationship. What I really liked in how their relationship is portrayed, how open and honest they are with their feelings. Hugh is a warrior but is also capable of gentleness and tender feelings for the woman he loves; Audris is passionate and headstrong in her desire for him. I also liked how Gellis made their sexuality such a natural and joyous part of their union, it seemed right.
There’s war going on and soon the mystery of who Hugh really is and the result of their union makes them leave Jernaeve. I thought the first half of the book was a bit slow but towards the middle it definitely picks up the pace not only in their relationship but also in the background story. Gellis successfully blends story with history and mystery to provide us with an interesting and entertaining historical romance.