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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Breathtaking...
It has been a long while since a book left me in awe at the sheer brilliance of it. In fact I can't recall the last time that happened and as far as I'm concerned this book cannot be rated because it is off the charts. It is that incredible!
This is the story of Raine and Arianna set in the year 1157 when Wales and England were in constant war. Raine is the bastard...
Published on December 2, 2002 by Amazon Customer

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just wasted 5 hours of my life.
It took me 5 hours to read the frickin book and I would say only the end is worth reading. I got a hint at where the story was going right after the big bad black knight storms the castle kills the heroines brother in front of her (so she hates him) she keeps attacking him yelling murderer, he shrugs it off calling her a whore, she is then told she has to marry him by her...
Published on June 24, 2011 by Tizer Burton


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61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Breathtaking..., December 2, 2002
It has been a long while since a book left me in awe at the sheer brilliance of it. In fact I can't recall the last time that happened and as far as I'm concerned this book cannot be rated because it is off the charts. It is that incredible!
This is the story of Raine and Arianna set in the year 1157 when Wales and England were in constant war. Raine is the bastard son of the Earl of Chester, a horrible man who relegated his illegitimate son to work in the stables and subjected him to countless beatings and floggings and ultimately gives Raine up as a hostage to his enemies. Raine overcomes these
immense obstacles with his courage and sheer strength, driven by a strong derire to prove himself to his uncaring father, to make him see him as his son or at least as his equal. Raine's drive and ambitions eventually gain him knighthood and in exchange for saving King Henry's life he receives his own keep. Raine's dream was to someday be the Lord of his own castle and King Henry made that dream come true, however, for this dream he has to pay a hefty price. Raine is also to marry the daughter of a Welsh prince to secure not only his castle but also a truce between the two countries. This Welsh princess is as beautiful as she is stubborn and strong, and she has made it very clear that she does not want to marry the Norman bastard others call the Black Dragon.
Arianna is a Welsh "seer", a beautiful, strong girl who is not easily subdued by any man. Raine is a Norman, therefore her enemy, who has killed countless of her people and even her own brother in battle. She will not easily accept this arranged marriage not only because he murdered her brother bu also because her loyalty lies in Wales. Through her gift of sight and with the help of a very mysterious squire Arianna is able to see into Raine's terrible past and from those visions she is able to glean an understanding of him, and she begins to fall in love with him. She finds out that underneath the intimidating and confident warrior lives a little boy starving for love and acceptance. Raine and Arianna's love will grow to be so unbelievable and strong as to transcend time.
Do you believe in eternal love? If you do then this book is for you. If you don't this book will make a believer out of you. If you are a sucker for tortured heroes with hearts of gold then you will fall head over heels in love with Raine. If you love strong, intelligent heroines then Arianna will make you cheer. This novel has all the ingredients that make a romance perfect. If you need to be reminded of why you started to read romances in the first place then give this book a try.It will remind you .... Highly recommended!!!
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just wasted 5 hours of my life., June 24, 2011
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It took me 5 hours to read the frickin book and I would say only the end is worth reading. I got a hint at where the story was going right after the big bad black knight storms the castle kills the heroines brother in front of her (so she hates him) she keeps attacking him yelling murderer, he shrugs it off calling her a whore, she is then told she has to marry him by her father, just before the wedding she throws water at him which lands at his feet throwing specks of mud on his boots, he tells her she has to clean it off on her hands and knees in front of everyone, rips her dress to use as a rag - and she does it!
He knows she's a virgin on the wedding night and is scared of him, goes for the oral sex straight away, she stabs him, he thumps her across the face - then he rapes her. Nice.
What happens from that point up until the very end of the book is a bipolar misogynistic rollercoaster ride. They have one BIG MISUNDERSTANDING after another all the way through, he lusts after her then hates her, throws her on beds then throws her away from him, takes her roughly then vows never to touch her again- for frick sake. It made me tired. I should have given up after the wedding night rape scene but stuck with it remembering the amazing reviews it received on here. Oh well, lesson learnt.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful epic romance that will make you laugh and cry., May 31, 2000
I could not put it down. KEEPER OF THE DREAM is deeply emotional, beutifully written, and filled with as much laughter as tears.
Raine is the illegitimate son of a Norman nobleman. He is a much-feared warrior nick-named the Black Dragon. He conquers castle Rhuddlan, but must nevertheless fight his legitimate half-brother in a tournament to become its lord. In the process, he must wed Lady Arianna. This illegitimate son of a nobleman is weary of fighting and wants his own land and title enough to consent to an arranged marriage. Lady Arianna is horrified by the thought of marrying the Norman who killed her brother in battle. Suffice it to say that theirs is a chaotic and emotionally brutal union. And this is only the first 100 pages! What follows is quite a beautiful and heart-wrenching read.
There is much strife, turmoil, and heartbreak in this multi-layered story. However, there is enough humor and laughter to save it from becoming depressing.
I loved this book. It is now one of my very favorites. I will no doubt hunt down the rest of Penelope Williamson's books.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good novel set on the Welsh border 1100s, December 18, 2002
I have a real weakness for this period and this region, ever since I fell in love with the world of Brother Cadfael (created by the late Ellis Peters). Recently I stumbled across a rather tattered copy of Keeper of the Dream, and thought the title sounded familiar (it was rated highly by All About Romance).
Penelope Williamson sets this hard-to-find novel in the Welsh Marches in the early years of Henry II. The story begins with the siege of a Welsh castle and the death of the heroine's brother at the hero's hand. Not a promising start, especially when it is followed up by the heroine Arianna (only daughter of Owen, Prince of Gwynedd or North Wales) trying to kill the hero Raine (or The Black Dragon), in return. Raine is the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Chester, and the half-brother of the present Earl who covets the castle for his own. They also have other points of dispute between them, notably the fact that Hugh married the woman whom Raine loved but could not marry.
This backdrop of sibling rivalry, the feelings of an unacknowledged (and very poorly treated) illegitimate son of one of the great power brokers, and the war between Henry II and the Welsh princes is what drives much of the story. There is also a mysterious young bard Taliesin who is not what he seems. Arianna initially hates Raine, even as she is forced to marry him (as part of a treaty of peace between her father and the English king). The intrigues of her younger brother and a cousin cause further problems for her relationship with her husband.
This novel features one or two scenes of heartbreak. We also learn about Raine's very unhappy childhood and youth through his memories as scried by Arianna. It is to Raine's credit that he has not allowed his treatment by others (who should have loved him) to warp him. Although he is very much a man of his times, he is also capable of compassion, warmth, friendship and loyalty. Arianna is passionate (but *not* feisty), fiercely loyal to her people and yet struggling to keep her marriage vows (where she should place her husband's interests above that of her kin).
My only quibble was that the background of Raine was not that well-developed. Why was his father so opposed to acknowledging his son, and was his attitude typical? Why was Raine fighting - after such ill-treatment - for his illegitimate half-brother's forces? His position at the outset (whether he is vassal to the Earl of Chester, or to the King, or a mercenary) is not entirely clear.
In a historical note, Williamson points out that she took considerable liberties with the persons - while the prince and the earl existed, some other people did not. Owen had several children by his wife and concubines (Welsh law considered all acknowledged children to be legitimate, and thus the eldest acknowledged son need not be the eldest son born in wedlock). However, his daughters, if any, go unrecorded in history. The late Earl of Chester, AFAIK, had no illegitimate son named Raine. While he was known (and notorious) for switching sides as and when convenient, the character given to him by Williamson does not quite match historical accounts. These discrepancies are however a matter of artistic license in a historical romance.
If you like this book, you might want to try other stories set on the Welsh border. One of my favorites is Elizabeth Chadwick's The Wild Hunt (set several decades earlier in the reigns of William II and Henry I). Apart from a couple of Ellis Peters mysteries (One Corpse Too Many, and The Virgin in the Ice), this has to be the best book set on the Welsh marches that I have read. The Brother Cadfael novels are medieval mysteries set during the first English Civil War (Stephen and Matilda, 1140s), but several - including the two I have mentioned - feature a young couple. What I like about Peters is that the protagonists are very ordinary people, and that it is therefore considerably easier to believe in their existence.
Another "Welsh March" book is Roberta Gellis's Knight's Honor (featuring the Earl of Hereford in the reign of Stephen and Henry II); the Earl of Chester who is Williamson's hero's father is the father of the heroine in this book. The interested (with time to spare) might want to compare the portrayal of this historical figure in Gellis's romance versus Williamson's romance.
Penelope Williamson has also written several romances set in 19th century America. Although she is not a prolific author, all her settings are unique and carefully researched. You might want to try THE OUTSIDER, which has been highly recommended to me
NB: Review slightly edited December 27, because Amazon's checking system objects to a synonym for illegitimate, commonly used in medieval times and medieval law.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best romance book ever written., May 13, 2002
By 
I am not by nature a romance reader, but I borrowed this book from my mother and was absolutely shocked. The two main characters are composed of such depth and breadth that you feel right along with them as they go through their trials. You know those books you just never want to end? This is one of them. Not only is it the best romance novel I've ever read, it is one of the best books I have ever read. Period. It makes up for a hundred other terrible books that I have read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Same song, second verse"... IT IS NOT!, August 5, 2003
By 
janlouise (Ruston, LA United States) - See all my reviews
A wonderful romance book that will not disappoint you. In fact, I have yet to be disappointed in any of PW's books. One reviewer wrote "Do you want beautiful prose, rich characters and a story line that is not the 'same song second verse'?" And I couldn't agree more!!!
The year is 1157 and Lady Arianna's brother killed and his castle Rhuddlan is captured by the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Chester, Raine - or better known as the Black Dragon. Lady Arianna is taken hostage. Raine's half-brother wants the castle for himself and approachs King Henry II for ownership. To be able to claim the castle as his, Raine must fight his half-brother in a tournament. In the end the winner gets the castle and weds Lady Arianna.
The story is one of sibling rivalry and never being good enough for a father's love. Being dedicated to her family and Welsh countrymen, Arianna fights Raine and his English ways constantly until she allows herself to see another side of him. It is a story of eternal love with a wonderful ending. I highly recommend it. You will no doubt enjoy it!!!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ABSOLUTELY THE BEST!, September 8, 2000
This is my absolute favorite romance book of all time. I have read it so many times the binding is coming apart. Raine and Arianna are so likeable and so real, they'll have you cheering and crying for them as they battle their way toward true love. Each and every character is finely drawn, and the complex and detailed storylines are expertly interwoven keeping the reader's attention throughout. Brava, Ms. Williamson!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pleasantly Impressed! So captivatingly beautiful!!!, June 16, 1998
By A Customer
Wow! Ms. Williamson is a very gifted and intelligent writer. I'm not a big fan of romance, as often the characters depicted are too often simplified, one-dimensional and predictable. However, Ms. Williamson's complex characters, plot, and sub-plots, make for a fantastic and breath-taking read. I couldn't put the book down! It was absolutely beautiful and incredible. The love between Arianna and Raine was palpable and something that women (and men) dream about finding in their soulmates. Way to go, Penelope!! I look forward to more inspiring reads!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful, haunting story, January 29, 2001
By 
Cal (Richmond, VA United States) - See all my reviews
This book haunted me for days after I read it. Although the plot has some fantastical elements (which I normally avoid), the writing was so engrossing and the characters so unforgettable (especially Raine) that it didn't matter that it didn't exactly adhere to my own "formula." I immediately searched out Penelope Williamson's other books, but none lived up to this one. A touching and poignant story.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raine and Arianna - beautiful love story., August 9, 2007
By 
joeyjhg2 (BATON ROUGE, LA United States) - See all my reviews
Penelope Williamson writes wonderful books! She's one my absolute favorite authors and an auto-buy for me. I love, love this book!
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Keeper of the Dream
Keeper of the Dream by Penelope Williamson (Paperback - May 1, 1995)
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