Author: Grace Ingram
Publisher: Chicago Independent Press
Type of book: Medieval ages, 1173, lord of the manor, daily life, cleaning, power struggles, death, forced marriage, atypical, old king Henry II vs his sons, rebellions, Scots,
Year it was published: 1973, 2018
The fair Lady Julitta has a problem. She is not wealthy. She prizes her virginity. And her liege, whom she despises, is intent on rape.
Red Adam is the lord of Brentborough castle—young, impetuous, scandalous, a twelfth-century hell raiser. On one of his nights of drunken revelry he abducts Julitta. Though she fends him off, keeping her virginity, he has sullied her honor. Then, to the astonishment of all, he marries her.
Red Adam’s Lady is a boisterous, bawdy tale of wild adventure, set against the constant dangers of medieval England. It is a story of civil war and border raids, scheming aristorcrats and brawling villagers, daring escapes across the moors and thundering descents down steep cliffs to the ocean. Its vivid details give the reader a fascinating and realistic view of life in a medieval castle and village. And the love story in it is an unusual one, since Julitta won’t let Adam get closer than the length of her stiletto.
Long out of print though highly acclaimed, Red Adam’s Lady is a true classic of historical fiction along the lines of Anya Seton’s Katherine and Sharon Kay Penman’s Here Be Dragons.
Hands down, my favorite characters are Red Adam and Julitta, although I also liked the villains as well. When we first get introduced to Red Adam, I expected him to be one of the cold rakes who will only seduce Julitta through forced love-making or who thinks he knows better than everyone else. Much to mine surprise, Red Adam has really grown on me; he is chivalrous, cares more for others than himself and dares to back up Julitta in her pursuits. He is also highly intelligent and loyal and while his childhood is a bit tragic, its not as bad as one would expect. My first impression of Julitta is of someone who wants to keep peace at all costs and someone not sure of herself. But as she becomes the mistress, and thanks to Red Adam's encouragement, she really grows into an amazing woman who dares to stand beside her husband in easy and difficult times and who finally sees the value in him. There are other characters but I feel as if they aren't as memorable as Red Adam and Julitta, and a character sheet would have been a bit helpful.
Bad beginnings can have excellent endings
The story is written in third person narrative from Julitta's point of view. Its well written, very exciting, in terms of the events, power struggles between Julitta and Constance, and a fascinating period. I also will mention that in some cases a dictionary might be required because some of the words meant different things than they do now (namely the word slut, which has another meaning aside from the sexual one.) and this story is one that will require a re-read some time soon because first time is not enough. I also feel that the book would have benefited from a character sheet because while I recall and remember many characters, there are some that have tended to escape me, unfortunately.
(From the book)
Grace Ingram was the pseudonym of Doris Sutcliffe Adams (1920-2015). She wrote six novels: Desert Leopard, Price of Blood, Power of Darkness, and No Man's Son under her own name, and Red Adam's Lady and Gilded Spurs under the name Grace Ingram.
From the summary and the book cover, I almost expected for the novel to be a romance novel similar to modern day ones with little to no focus on anything else. Things that I thought the novel wouldn't be is wild, exciting, attention grabbing sentences and words and a hero and heroine that you just want to be happy together. I also didn't expect so much death, as odd as it sounds. But I got that and much more. In addition to having an engaging and memorable romance, the author introduces the reader to the daily life of 12th century England be it vocabulary, cleaning methods, medicines, or the constant death that stalks the characters. What I also loved are the characters of Adam and Julitta and how the author slowly showed them becoming friends before getting a happily ever after. For a wonderful and awesome read that is both sweet and shows realistic medieval life, this is was a breath-taking read.
This was given to me for an honest review
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)