Author: Lindsay Townsend
Buy Link: Buy The Snow Bride Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed By: Erin
She is Beauty, but is he the Beast?
Elfrida, spirited, caring, and beautiful, is also alone. She is the “witch of the woods,” and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?
In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth “bride,” the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.
Lindsay Townsend’s medieval romance The Snow Bride is a radiant tale that brings together a beauty and a beast, in language that is poetic, evocative and unforgettable.
In twelfth-century England, beautiful red-haired Elfrida is the white witch, the good spirit, the Christian healer. Magnus is the scarred, blunt, ugly and maimed returning Crusader who has given up hope that any woman will ever love him. And when they come together in a kind of miracle, he feels “after so many years of reluctant, hasty couplings with women who stared at the coins he gave and never at his face, a healing, loving balm.”
Yes, they come together. The physical joining is always joyful for both of them. And yet the times out of each other’s arms–while the two of them go in search of three endangered brides in the clutches of an evil man–those are times of indecision and passion, worry and misunderstanding and clashing of wills.
Before I go on, I would like to take a few short sentences to appreciate Lindsay Townsend’s writing.
…The subtlety of the story-telling, the way of saying something without saying it, as when the author describes Magnus’ long-withheld sexual urges: “And then a deep, abiding ache, bedding down in the great hall alone.”
…The many tiny metaphors tossed throughout like sequins on a bodice: “her needles flashing like a small sword.” “He clamped his body behind her like moss on a boulder.”
…The cadence, the sense of poetry, that is palpable in almost every line.
The Snow Bride is not an easy book to write about. Don’t get me wrong–it is easy to read, for the characters are engaging and the pacing is brisk and exciting. But the themes that bend and weave and interplay in the story are like quicksilver to catch and describe.
Lindsay Townsend tells both a simple story and a complex one–a story of Christian healing and white magic battling against dark necromancy. It is a fairy tale, a beauty and the beast tale for the romantic at heart; but it is also a moral tale of good versus evil and light versus dark. The Snow Bride is all that, and more–a tale told by a modern beguiler who weaves her own magic to tell the tale of Magnus the scarred, ugly brute and Elfrida, the Snow Queen.
This love story between two unlikely characters is very real and fully imagined. To Magnus, “if she [Elfrida] was a Madonna, he was a gargoyle.” And to Elfrida, he is her “man-angel in demon dress, her beast knight and snow knight.” Beauty, merge with beast…and delight us happily ever after.