Author: Lindsay Townsend
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
Buy Link: Buy Midsummer Maid Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed By: Erin
Together, can their love defy the world? At Midsummer all things are possible…
He was a good man but cursed with the mark of the devil on his face and shunned by many.
She was a dairy-maid, caring and brave, who feared no one.
Drawn to each other on a long and fateful Midsummer Day, can Haakon and Clare overcome the superstitions of their village and the brutal, lecherous knights to break out of their bonds of class and custom and to strive for a better life – together?
Short and sweet, like a sip of summer wine…. Those words describe Lindsay Townsend’s swirl of honey, Midsummer Maid. Only a bit over 20 pages, this little book is a treasure-trove of medieval sweet romance triumphing over the frenzy of lust.
I think the author wants us to see her book as a reflection of the tenderness that lies in the heart of the most simple of people–dairy maids and foresters–and how it is more meaningful and more true than the studied chivalry of a stiffly hierarchical society. Her prose is light as a May breeze, unstudied as a girlish smile.
Haakon the woodsman is a man shamed by an ugly birthmark–a red mark that runs across his chin and part of his cheek. Seeing the mark as evil, the village maidens, all but one, run from him. Clare is a dairy maid, a lustrous, pretty little wisp of life whom he loves from a distance but one he is afraid to approach any more closely than a wave and a smile.
On a midsummer festival day, Haakon carries Clare in a special chair as Lady of the Revels. When she and a priest leave to gather and strew wildflowers for the religious significance, he thinks about her, evoking images of the very flowers she is surrounded by:
Were I a unicorn of the wildwoods, I would come to lay my head in your lap, he thought, wishing he were the stitchwort, daises, and white campion she was scattering, or better yet, the marigolds tucked within her bodice, a golden glow between her breasts.
Told from Haakon’s point of view, the story recounts his wonder and joy that Clare, instead of fearing him, seems to be drawn to him as he is to her. When a brutal, lustful knight seeks to take her, Haakon and Clare must face the consequences of standing up against a knight of the manor lord. And even if they can escape his grasp, will this woman accept him, scarred as he is?
As if in counterpoint to his scar, Clare’s face is scattered too with marks, “a tiny scattering of freckles close to her hairline, a delicious trifle . . .” With this subtle touch of parity between the two characters, Townsend delights the reader as she draws us into a parable of goodness and true honor overcoming the darker needs that lie within.