Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Dunstan, A Knight of Crozby: A Romance Novella is an epic historical romance written by Ronnda Eileen Henry. Dunstan, an orphan raised by his aunt and uncle, would probably have remained a farmer living on the land in the foothills of the Fells, in the region known as Crozby, had it not been for the decision made by the dukes of Penruddock to build up a defensive military force. Lord Dietrich, the Duke of Crozby, was tasked with manning the outpost in Banland, and his son, Lord Dietmar, would be leading that force. Dunstan was one of the Crozby men who answered that call to arms. He was 16 years old when he entered the Duke’s service, and was 28 when he was spurred into action to stop the kidnapping of a young woman, one he had watched growing up during his service in Banland. Annagret, the smith’s daughter, had been seized by Sir Arnold, who had been frustrated by her continued refusal of his advances. Dunstan, who had recently been promoted to the title of Knight Commander, was actually Arnold’s military superior, but the nobleman had always reacted badly to orders issued by someone whom Arnold considered a commoner and his inferior. Dunstan set out to apprehend him and foil his plan to sell Annagret into slavery.
Dunstan, A Knight of Crozby continues the Penruddock sagas with a look this time at a commoner whose answer to the call for men-at-arms has changed his life and social standing. I’ve enjoyed each of Henry’s Daughters of Penruddock novellas and was intrigued to see how Dunstan’s story would compare. It began with a nice dose of action and adventure and continued to gain dimension as I read on. Dunstan and Annagret’s interactions are marvelous to follow, especially as Annagret is outspoken and not at all inclined to be the docile and compliant wife Dunstan initially expects. I enjoyed seeing how Henry’s Penruddock world is evolving, with education for both genders becoming more commonplace, an emphasis on literacy reaching back to adults as well as children, and the evolution of cottage industries which give Penruddock’s women more independence and control over their own destinies. As always, Henry’s writing is smooth and assured; she is a consummate storyteller indeed. Dunstan, A Knight of Crozby is most highly recommended.