Winterbourne by Susan Carroll

Posted November 24, 2017 in Book Review / 18 Comments

Winterbourne by Susan CarrollWinterbourne by Susan Carroll
Series: de Macy #1
Published by Fawcett on March 12th, 1987
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 380
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Purchase on: Amazon | B&N
One StarOne StarOne Star

In the harsh, turbulent Middle Ages, lovely Lady Melyssan remains as she always has been sweet, timid, and content to be alone. But in a desperate move to resist the advances of the dreaded king, she claims to be married to his worst enemy, Lord Jaufre de Macy, the legendary Dark Knight. Seeking temporary shelter in Jaufre’s abandoned castle, Winterbourne, she is unprepared for the fierce, angry warrior who returns to confront her. He is a man as rough and unforgiving as the Welsh border lands he rules and she is as gentle and innocent as a new day. But neither Jaufre’s dark heart nor Melyssan’s innocent one can resist the love that is their destiny nor protect them from the danger drawing ever closer…

For years, I have been searching for this book. I couldn’t remember the title or the author, only that it was set in medieval England and featured a tortured hero, a childhood crush, and a crippled/lame heroine. Turns out the novel I longed for was actually two books—WINTERBOURNE by Susan Carroll and IF I HAD YOU by Lynn Kurland. Somehow in my memories I kind of meshed them all into one story. Now wonder it took me so long to find them! Here are my thoughts on WINTERBOURNE by Susan Carroll.

In a desperate attempt to resist the unwanted advances of King John, Melyssan flees to Winterbourne and masquerades as Jaufre de Macy’s wife, the kings most feared lord and Melyssan’s childhood “Sir Lancelot.”


Dreadfully naive and hopelessly timid Melyssan is thought of as lovely but weak. She’s actually rather courageous. She’s on the run from the king, posing as the wife of one of England’s most terrifying knights, and terrified out of her mind, and yet she has the bravery and compassion to willfully commit treason to help a family in need.

I admired Melyssan’s backbone, especially when she was going head-to-head with the Dark Knight. She gives as much as she gets when it comes to the gruff lord’s temper. It was also difficult not to feel for our unfortunate heroine. She goes through a lot of sorrow, turmoil, and loss in WINTERBOURNE.


Our infamous hero is the reason for most of my issues with this novel. While Carroll sees it fit to redeem our tortured hero, I wasn’t able to forgive and forget so easily. The Dark Knight might have an honor code, but he’s still a bully with too much power. He torments those weaker than him and lashes out at Melyssan when he’s too cowardly to acknowledge his own feelings.

“I heard a sermon once regarding women. Vessils of sin. Of male and female, ’tis the woman who is most lascivious. You need to keep up your own guard against your own evil, my lady.”

He does have reason to feel unsavory against the fairer sex and his past riddled with those who’ve betrayed him. Still, to damn an entire gender due to the actions of the few? It’s hard to swallow, but his hatred for women isn’t the only thing that turns me off. it’s the countless times he disappoints and hurt Melyssan that kills his character for me.

Despite the character flaws, I actually enjoyed the world building and setting. For historical romance, Carroll crafted a novel that feels more realistic than other novels in its genre. In real life, problems don’t end when you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

In WINTERBOURNE, Melyssan and Jaufre are forced to confront war, past demons, treason, and death while they attempt to carve out a life for themselves in the harsh and dangerous Middle Ages. While it can be hard to stomach, I admire the Carroll’s attempt at a realistic historical romance during a time when marrying for love was nothing more than a fairy tale.

Though WINTERBOURNE had issues, and a rather frustrating hero, I am glad I found it again. To say it was a nostalgic experience would be an understatement. I enjoyed the novel and though it looks like the de Macy series was dropped before completion, I find myself yearning for more from this author.


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

About Susan Carroll

Born Susan Carol Cute in 1952, Susan Coppula obtained a Degree in English with complementary studies in History in the University of Indiana. Since 1986, Susan has published books under three different pseudonyms: Susan Carroll, Susan Coppula, and Serena Richards


About aweebish



18 responses to “Winterbourne by Susan Carroll

  1. I am glad that you enjoyed this one, and I love those older medievals. I adore If I Had You though, I have really enjoyed her De Piaget series.

    But I haven’t read Winterborne by Carroll…I will need to change that.

    • aweebish

      IF I HAD YOU was wonderful. I actually haven’t read the De Piaget series yet, but I am looking forward to it!

    • aweebish

      YOUR FEAR IS WELL FOUNDED, Kimberly! I swear I have been re-reading all year and have realized a lot of the books I LOVED weren’t all that great.

  2. That’s too bad that the series was never completed. Glad you did have fun with this one again though, it is nice to be able to do a re-read and get immersed right back into a setting and characters.

  3. I love finding old favourites to reread again after so many years, do you think you enjoyed it more the first time around though? It sounds wonderful apart from Jaufre de Macy being a misogynist prick. Men, always spoiling everything. I’m glad you were still able to enjoy this one Sarah despite how infuriating he was. Wonderful review! <3 <3

    • aweebish

      I probably did enjoy it more the first time through. I wasn’t so observant about abusive behavior and shitty characters, lol. But it is so nice to have finally found this book! That was satisfactory enough to make up for Jaufre 🙂

  4. LOL, yep, that will explain it. I’ve had those niggles in my mind about a book I read, but can’t quite remember enough to find it again. Thank goodness for being able to store review thoughts online now to help jog my memory.

    Oh, too bad about his non-heroic qualities. Glad she was at least a good heroine for you.

  5. L

    I hate it when I can remember specific details about a book, but not the author or the title! It’s infuriating when you can’t find a book you know you’ve read.

    For example: there was a girl, she and her mother used to be overweight, then her mother became a fitness instructor. The mother has to travel, so the daughter lives with her grandmother (near the beach, maybe) and someone from town (a guy) lives in her basement and paints awesome pictures of people and collects sunglasses. The daughter makes friends with the two girls across the street and ends up working with them, and the basement guy, at a restaurant. The grandmother is odd and keeps things even though they are broken.

    I know all of that and more, but I cannot remember the title or the author. It’s maddening.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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