This week’s old favorite is Lynn Kurland’s This Is All I Ask.  Believe it or not this is at least my third read through on this book, as I discovered when I was looking up my original review to share with you. It appears I never formally reviewed it for The Romanceaholic and simply summed up my thoughts on Goodreads, but my original rating was 4.5/5 Stars.

This is all I ask

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If you’re looking for a medieval romance that has an abused heroine, a scrumptious-yet-damaged hero, a wonderful cast of secondary characters, and just enough angst and weirdness to keep things interesting, look no further.

Our hero has been badly hurt by love and subsequent betrayal in the past, and while I won’t spoil things for you, there have been consequences that have changed his life forever.

Our heroine has been horribly physically abused by her father, and so appears to be a timid little mouse at first, but she soon enough finds her inner backbone and gives everyone a run for their money.

There’s a taste of the paranormal with the three sister witches who influence the plot a bit, but anyone familiar with Lynn Kurland will find that this is not at all out of place, considering that several of the installments in this series involve not only magic but time travel.  While this story itself does not feature any of the time travel, there’s still a whiff of the paranormal, which I found charming rather than distracting.

I do feel that Kurland’s heroes tend to be a tad bit squishy for my tastes — angsting over things beyond their control, and their eyes tend to mist up over the slightest provocation, but even so, it fits well with her writing style. Please don’t mistake me — her heroes are still about as bad-ass as one can be, but it’s their melty centers that tend to make me give them a bit of the side-eye.

There’s one scene in particular in this installment that has annoyed me every single time I’ve re-read it — the scene with the “blanket”.  Full, mostly lucid conversations while in the throes of a terrible fever (one so major that our heroine can’t so much as open her eyes) are a wee bit beyond my willful suspension of disbelief.

Honestly, though, that’s the only real complaint I have about this story.  The romance progresses at just the right pace, the secondary characters make you fall in love with them just as hard as you fall for the hero, and our heroine is sympathetic without being pitiful.

I also have to say that one of my very favorite things about this novel is that one of the major stumbling blocks in the lives of our hero and heroine is not miraculously resolved at the end of the novel, as many other authors would have done.  I distinctly remember on my first read-through being a bit disappointed about that, but upon re-reading it, I’m so glad that the author didn’t take the easy way out.

This is one of the perfect examples of what I like to call “literary comfort food”, and I can honestly say that I have no shame in having read this book three times, and can honestly say that I will probably re-read it again in the future.

Still a firm 4.5/5 Stars, and I look forward to re-reading this sometime next year.