REVIEW: Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram

Dear. Ms Ingram,

How I wish you’d written more books. I’d read posts touting Red Adam’s Lady and due to the generosity of another Avid Reader (thanks Keishon!), I got my hands on a copy of it. Depending on how readers like their realism, this one might be worth it though. It really gives a *you are there in the cesspool of a medieval hold* feeling. But it has humor and a great hero to balance that out.

Julitta de Montrigord is the daughter of a younger son and was raised on the tourney circuit in Europe until her father’s death when she was placed in a nunnery and then cast on the charity of her stingy uncle. She’s been ill treated by men her whole life and frankly doesn’t see much good in any of them. But she’s a realist and knows that her future will either be with a man her uncle picks for her or back in the convent. However, when faced with a forced marriage to Adam de Lorismond, she actually thinks life as a poor dependent in a convent might not be a bad idea.

Her first encounter with her beloved takes place when she’s on her way back to her uncle’s hold and has to stop in a village ale house while her horse is reshod. It’s there that she meets a very drunk Adam and three of his buddies, all sloshed to the gills, and gets mistaken for a strumpet. Adam invokes his *right of the lord* and hauls her off, thrown over his shoulder, back to his keep and upstairs into his bedchamber. Where she whacks him upside the head with a stool and ties him to the bedpost. When he comes to, Adam realizes his mistake and is determined to make things right. He offers marriage and Julitta’s politically minded uncle, who wants Adam on his side for a proposed uprising in favor of King Henry’s eldest son, agrees.

Now Julitta is stuck with a man she sees as a grinning fool, in a slovenly keep whose chatelaine let it go to hell in a handcart over the past few years while treason swirls in the air and there is danger of the gawdawful Scots coming over the border at any time. Just what any 17 year old dreams of for her married life. But Red Adam is determined to prove to his heart’s delight that she might not know all there is to know about men in general and him in particular.

Julitta starts out as a bit of a prickly pear. She’s been tossed around her whole life and not been valued by any man so it’s not surprising that she views Adam with skepticism, especially considering how they first met. It takes her a long time to warm to him but I found it more believable than if she had fallen head long in love at first sight. Watching her begin to set her new home in
order gives a great view of the life and duties of a castle lady of the time. Don’t let your kitchen maids turn to slatterns, keep your rushes swept to avoid an infestation of fleas, make sure you have plenty of woodash boiled with urine to make lye to scour the floors if you do, and at all costs, keep your kitchen free of entrails and be sure your scullions don’t piss in the cook pots.

Red Adam is fun. He’s a reformed rogue who cheerfully admits to his wild oat sowing. But in Julitta he’s found the woman of his dreams and he won’t stop til he’s won her heart as well as her hand. He’s also a man wise beyond his years from his own hard upbringing and he’s determined to hold to what is his at all costs. What I really loved about him is the vulnerability of his heart and his belief that a lord is truly responsible for the welfare of his dependents.

There is a slight mystery which is fairly easily solved and some of the secondary characters, especially the nobles, are a bit two dimensional but you really show the hardships of daily living in the time and the horror that can happen when things go truly wrong. I thought you also did a good job in showing the relationships between the peasants and the nobility (pretty darn one sided).
There isn’t much sensuality here (kisses for the most part) but I had a fun time reading about Red Adam and his Lady. B+ for you.

~Jayne

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0 comments on “REVIEW: Red Adam’s Lady by Grace Ingram

  1. Your gonna make me search for my copy of this book. I hadn’t read it yet. Off to search for it in one of several boxes around here. Great review, as usual.

  2. I wish I had a scanner and could put the cover art up. For once, the cover artist got everything correct. So look for it, Keishon. I think you’ll like it.

  3. While I was here, I had to comment on this one. It is one of my most beloved historical romances, in memory at least. I lent out my copy and never got it back! The person, generally honorable, said she didn’t have it, but she has rooms full of books and I’m sure it must be there somewhere.

    Perhaps I’ll do a raid.

    Jo

  4. Red Adam’s Lady is my favorite historical romance. But my second favorite historical novel also was written by Grace Ingam, Gilded Spurs. It is the story of a young man, a bastard, whose dream of being a knight suddenly becomes possible when his real father, a baron, claims him as his son. The story is set in the 1100’s, earlier than Red Adam’s Lady. There is an underlying theme of redemption which is not heavy handed. The story line is well-plotted and the characters are very believable. And you can actually find this book for sale at affordable prices.

  5. Red Adam’s Lady has been a great source of inspiration! As has Gilded Spurs. I couldn’t agree more about wanting to read more of Grace’s Ingram’s work. She did publish a couple of other books under another name, but for the life of me I can’t recall it. Dorothy ??? Perhaps it will come back to me, but I have never managed to get hold of those other books. A wonderful, strong writer.
    Best wishes
    Carol

  6. Grace Ingram’s real name is Doris Sutcliffe Adams. All of her books are out of print and hard to come by. They are well worth it if you can find them.

  7. Sylvia, thanks for the information. I just checked and — ye Gods! — you’re right about the prices for her books. I’ll have to check and see if any library has got them.

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