AT HER SERVICE
Author: Shari Anton ISBN: 0446614653 1/2005 HISTORICAL Publisher: WARNER FOREVER
RRAH's THOUGHTS AND PONDERINGS:
I had really high hopes for this book. My first book by Shari Anton, set in medieval times, and with a back blurb that sounded very interesting to me. A widow in distress with a child isn't anything new, but being set during the time of the plagues, I thought this would be a good fit for me.
I like the premise and I like the characters in AT HER SERVICE. However, what I didn't get was a connection between Logan, the mercenary, and Lady Joanna, the beautiful widow-in-distress. Not a fizzle, not a spark, nada, and without that bit of tinder, AT HER SERVICE soon became just another medieval romance.
However, the connection between Logan and Lady Joanna's little girl, Ivy, who, in my estimation stole this story, was touching and made me smile more than once. Ivy seemed natural and real, her actions mirroring those of how you'd think children of her age would act and react. She approaches Logan totally unafraid, and it is the relationship between these two that takes center stage here, not the love story that is supposed to be front and center between the widow and her hired mercenary. As I've heard said before, be wary of small dogs and children because they will manage to upstage you every time. In the case of AT HER SERVICE and little Ivy, that saying has proven to be most accurate.
As for Logan, I have big, big problems with this man who is supposed to be the most feared and fearless mercenary in the land. His legend is unmatched, he's feared by all, and yet he just doesn't come across to me as that...alpha, for want of a better word. He certainly didn't seem very menacing, which you would think a mercenary of his caliber would have to be. And for a man who's made his living across the kingdom as a hired killer, basically, Logan's quick change of heart and newly developed sensitivity just didn't seem to fit.
The historical settings and descriptiveness of Ms. Anton's writing are wonderful, though. Her use of the plague and the fact that Lady Joanna has lost both husband and children to this horrible affliction, only lends credibility to her character and gives the reader a deeper understanding of a woman trying hard to keep her people together under the most extreme hardship and conditions. The day-to-day activities and lives of those who populate this story are well described, and you can't help but be glad you're a voyeur, rather than a real participant in the harsh and violent times these characters inhabit.
This dip will by no means keep me from trying another Anton book in the future, but I'm sure fans of Shari Anton will find AT HER SERVICE a more believeable read and more to their liking than I did.