A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley

It’s been a long time not only since I have posted but since I have read anything.  While a new job seemed to have caused a reading slump, some time off including holidays and snow days have given me time to read.


I had heard of author Stella Riley because she was one of several authors, who write historical fiction in unusual settings such as in this case the civil war in england.  While this civil war or set of wars, is probably not as famous to those who live outside England, it can be given as a possible reason for why we even know who Puritans are.  In this war, the Puritans were pro-Parliament and anti-king.  This is important because our heroine, Abby,  is a Puritan, and from a mostly terrible family.  She lives with her brother, Jonas,  who is a literally Puritanical bully who owns a cloth shop and hates to sell his wears to anyone who doesn’t share his beliefs, such as nonpuritan and royalist people.  Not only is this happening, but our heroine is also criticized by the wife of said brother for not being like her in appearance and personality.


It would make sense that our hero, Justin, would be the last person for herto not only meet, but fall in love with.  He is a soldier on the other side, the Royalist side,  of this war, and he can’t stand Abby’s brother either.  Justin and Abby meet after she has a run in with one of his soldiers, and throughout the book they eventually become friends.  This friendship begins because Justin wants Abby to begin standing up to her brother, but he doesn’t initially realize what this will do to her reputation and what danger it will put her in.


Along with the reveal of Justin’s past, the attempted killings of several characters, and the family dynamics of different characters this book includes a well-rounded romance.  It is one which deservedly takes a long time to develop, and  I don’t think something different would work based on the main characters’ backgrounds.  In other words, if you want kissing or more than that on the first page, this is most likely not your book.  If you like a well-researched story however, this could very well be your book.  The story of where a Royalist garrison of 300 men holds a castle in Banbury, England is true, even if some of the soldiers, including Justin are not.  While this book is not part of a series, I am slowly reading the author’s Roundheads and Cavaliers series, and one of the books has a side story dealing with another brother, Sam.  I cannot wait to read about the further adventures of Abby and Justin in this context, because I enjoyed a Splendid Defiance so much.  Reading it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of snow days.

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