Set in 1173 during the rebellion of Henry II’s sons and wife, Shields of Pride is about Joscelin de Gael, illegitimate son of William de Rocher and a mercenary soldier. Quick to anger, he feuds with de Rocher’s jealous sons. He meets Linnet de Montsorrel, widow, and they marry, although it is not until later that they fall in love.
Shields of Pride is one of Elizabeth Chadwick’s earlier novels, and at about 360 pages, it’s also one of her shortest. Unlike many of her novels, this one doesn’t cover a large time span; the action in this book is tightly-packed. I’ve now read seven of Chadwick’s books, and I have to say that I’m still hooked on them. The author really has a talent for sucking her reader into the story and not letting go until the last page has been turned. Shields of Pride is a little more romance-oriented, but excellent nonetheless. I don’t know if Joscelin and Linnet were real people (they probably were), but I found myself really rooting for them, even as family conflict threatens. The historical detail is exquisite; you can really picture the time period and the people and feel as if you were there. In all, a great read, about the collision of past and present, and the ability to move into one’s future.