Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
Petra, The Forester's Daughter: A Romance Novella is an historical epic fantasy written by Ronnda Eileen Henry. The men who served King Adrian of Penruddock met with defeat after a long and bitter war with a neighboring kingdom. Many had homes, occupations and families to return to, while others, especially those who had been knighted in recognition of their service during the war, had uncertain futures to contend with. Some became robber knights and preyed upon villages and travelers, but the honorable ones sought to make their own way as best they could. Four friends counted themselves as fortunate in having survived the war. The oldest, Dikun, was thirty-two and, next in age, Nikol was twenty-eight. Harry followed at twenty-six and finally Wilkin was twenty-two and the most recent one to be knighted. They were also most fortunate in having a friend who could let them live in his cottage for the first six months since their return from war.
Nikol went to the local smithy to have his horse shod and soon found that he had an occupation waiting for him as well as a wife. Then Harry found himself a farmer’s widow, who was quite happy with having him become her husband. And so, it was the two younger knights who were still wondering what their futures would bring. While they admired Nikol’s and Harry’s good fortunes, they each felt that they’d rather be marrying for love, if at all, than as part and parcel of finding their station in life. Then Dikun saw Petra, the eldest daughter of the Lord Forester of the Duke of Crozby. Something about her made him catch his breath and declare to Wilkin that she would be the perfect match for the younger man. Wilkin’s skill as an archer should put him in good stead at the competition, he thought, and help him gain her attention. Wilkin was skeptical at best, but romance was indeed in the air.
Ronnda Eileen Henry’s historical epic fantasy, Petra, The Forester's Daughter: A Romance Novella, addresses the other side of tournaments and battles -- the inevitable losses that both the winning and losing sides of a battle incur, and the difficulties that beset those surviving soldiers when they return home. I enjoyed seeing how the four friends resolve those issues in ways that corresponded with their talents and their personalities. And while each one acts in the most honorable of ways, I would have to say my enthusiasm was saved for those two soldiers whose idealism and sense of honor spoke volumes. Henry’s characters are well-defined and credible, and her plot is engaging. Her stories of a culture that is not nearly as free a place for women as ours are thought-provoking. Petra, The Forester's Daughter: A Romance Novella is a sweet romance and is suitable for young adult readers as well as the target adult audience. It’s most highly recommended.