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Uncommon Vows Mass Market Paperback – December 2, 2003

50 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This disappointing historical romance serves up a plot hinging on amnesia--a hopelessly overworked gimmick--and a distressing scenario of abuse that even Putney's ( Dearly Beloved ) substantial doses of Christian piety cannot disguise. The effect is as uninspired as the work's inclusion of the hoary, ugly stereotype of a Jewish moneylender. Twelfth-century England is troubled by political unrest, and Meriel de Vere, not knowing if her family and the Earl of Shropshire are friends or enemies, conceals her identity when she is mistaken for a poacher by the hunting party of the earl, Adrian of Warfield. Adrian is attracted to the beautiful, spirited Meriel, so he locks her into a chamber in his castle and tries to coerce her into becoming his mistress; when this fails, he proposes marriage. Meriel would rather die than marry Adrian, and hurls herself out of a window. She survives the fall, but is afflicted with amnesia. Having forgotten her aversion to Adrian, she promptly falls in love and marries him. Yet Adrian knows his wedded bliss is a fragile thing that could be destroyed when Meriel's memory returns--as, of course, it does.

Copyright 1991 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (December 2, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451210689
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451210685
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,233,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney was born in Upstate New York with a reading addiction, a condition for which there is no known cure. Her entire romance writing career is an accidental byproduct of buying a computer for other purposes.

Her novels are known for psychological depth and intensity and include historical and contemporary romance, fantasy, and young adult fantasy. Winner of numerous writing awards, including two RITAs and two Romantic Times Career Achievement awards, she has five times had books listed among the Library Journal's top five romances of the year, and three times had books among the top ten romances of Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association.

Her favorite reading is great stories, but in a pinch she'll settle for the backs of cereal boxes. She's delighted that e-publishing can now make available books that have been out of print.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 29, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Possibly THE most incredible love story I've ever read. It's about obsession, possession, an all-consuming love, and forgiveness. It was love at first sight. Adrian believed that the Lady Meriel was the only thing that could dispel the darkness in his soul. You watch helplessly, as Adrian struggles unsuccessfully to express his love for Meriel and cry for them as his attempts threaten to smother and destroy the very object of his desire. The emotional turmult that causes Meriel to prefer death over domination leads the guilt-stricken Adrian to finally realize that only in the love that is freely given can they find the freedom to enjoy the incredible love that joins their souls. Well written. It took my breath away! BRAVO!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dr W. Richards on September 6, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Like some other reviewers, I am very familiar with MJP's work through her wonderful Regency-period novels, in particular the Fallen Angels series. I was a little reluctant to read Uncommon Vows because, although I have read some books set in the middle ages (Edith Pargeter's compelling novels, for example), it's not my favourite period.
Putney, again, impresses me immensely with the quality of her research. It's impressive enough when a British author's attention to detail and accuracy is good; it's amazing to see an American writer, writing for a mainly US audience, who takes such care with her research. I learned a lot about the Stephen/Matilda period I never knew!
A couple of reviewers comment that Adrian ia harsh and refer to him as a 'psycho'. Clearly they know nothing about the historical period in question, and are judging him by contemporary males. Up until this century, women were only valuable as the property of men. Men could do what they liked with their wives and daughters, and women of the lower classes were fair game. Actually, Meriel was treated amazingly well as a captive, and even though Adrian's behaviour was sometimes harsh, he never - as Meriel herself recognised much later - actually hurt her. His emotions were running riot where she was concerned; he was completely unable to express his feelings or convince her that he loved her; but he never completely lost control.
I found both Adrian's mental torment and Meriel's determination to resist seduction utterly convincing. Both had almost taken religious orders; naturally, their faith played a very strong role in their lives, even more than other people in a world where religion was very important.
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34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By bookjunkiereviews on August 20, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am a Mary Jo Putney fan, and am busy collecting all her books set in the Regeny, not to mention her Silk trilogy and Bride series. Generally, I admire her inventive plotting, her very interested (and often tortured) heroes and heroines, not to mention her beautiful style of writing. Unfortunately, I also like some consistency in the way characters think and act - and for medieval romances, I have an especially high standard.
I picked this book mainly because it was a medieval by Mary Jo Putney. Having read two of Jo Beverley's three medievals, I wondered what one of my favorite writers would do with the medieval period. Unfortunately, although the book is well-written and some of its characters are very intriguing, I cannot recommend this as highly as I wanted to, especially to fans of the medieval period in romance and historical fiction.
It is not that the hero is inauthentic. Yes, he is harsh at times, but he is also a lot kinder than the typical noble of his day would have been [compare how Adrian treats Meriel, who claims to be a Welsh commoner caught in the Royal Forest, with the treatment meted out to serf women and slaves by noblemen in Ellis Peters's Cadfael series].
One of the problems I have with this book is the high rank given to the hero - as Earl of Shropshire. Yes, there was no earl in Shropshire, given that a great earl (the founder of Shrewsbury Abbey) had died and his descendants had committed treason. But the earls would have been styled "of Shrewsbury" not "of Shropshire" if an earl had been created from a different family. Earldoms were not usually granted under the conditions described in the book as well - even allowing for the creation for rival earls. This for me was one of the first historically inauthentic notes.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By seton on July 18, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My poor words can never do justice to this emotional book but I was appalled that some reviewers didn't understand Uncommon Vows so I just had to put in my two cents.
This book may well be my favorite of all of MJP's books for a variety of reasons. First of all, never has her writing been more clear and poetical than in this book. She uses more visual metaphors than usual, especially because of the unique nature of the hero and the simpler time setting (this is MJP's only medieval). I am not a big fan of the medieval period and I know that MJP isn't either but she felt that that the medieval period was the right setting for the tormented hero and the dark love story that she tells here. As always, her choices are unerring. The basic plot is captor/captive; not my favorite which is why I am not a fan of Joanna Lindsey but MJP does handle it more realistically and intelligently than JL. The heroine, Meriel, does not understand how the hero, Adrian, can hold her prisoner in the name of love and it's a painful process as the story unfolds to show a love that is incredibly complex. MJP does add a few twist here and there and there is also a very violent and cinematic fight scene near the end. This book is definitely not for the gentle romance reader.
I first read this book when it came out and have reread it every year. It never fails to bring tears to my eyes. It is an emotional read with beautiful and clear writing on par with some of Laura Kinsale's works like Flowers From The Storm. It'll always have a special place in my heart and I was glad to read that MJP wrote a story involving a decendant of the hero/heroine from this book in her latest book, The Wild Child. I guess MJP found this couple as memorable as I do to refer to them after all these years. Bravo, Ms. Putney!
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