Friday, July 17, 2009

Silk Dreams by Diana Groe

Genre: Historical Romance 
Published: July 2007
Pages: 327

Having read all of Emily Bryan's books (Diana Groe's nom de plume) I was very excited when I picked up Silk Dreams, Diana's 3rd novel. Set in Constantinople during the time of the Byzantine Empire, this historical romance is an intriguing mix of love, betrayal, & survival intertwined with political treachery and exotic cultures. A combination that results in a suspenseful, passionate, page-turning read.

Scandinavian born Valdis is banished from her homeland, when found to be suffering from the "falling sickness" & sold at a slave market to the Greek, Damian Aristarchus, chief eunuch in the imperial household of Emperor Basil II. Damian hires Nordic warrior Erik Heimdalsson to teach Valdis the Greek language & then enlists the slave Chloe to see Valdis trained in the arts of an Odelisque in preparation for her use as a pawn in his political scheming.

Diana's characterisation is superb, she gives as much detail to essential secondary characters as the hero & heroine. Damian is complex; dangerous & scheming while still being compassionate and exhibiting a vulnerability that I found touching. I wanted Damian to have a happy ending, however unlikely. Two characters who are also well portrayed and play a significant role in the story, are the slave Chloe, made wise beyond her years by her tragic history & Valdi's little dog Loki, whose journey from scruffy mongrel to much loved companion is very endearing.

One of my favourite quotes in Silk Dreams comes from Chloe:

"Learn this as well. Today is all we have and we gain nothing from dwelling on that which is lost. Today we are strong and the sun is shining. That alone is enough that we should dance."

Erik is a Norseman banished from his homeland for committing a crime, now part of the Varangians sworn to protect the Emperor, the Bulgar-Slayer. Valdis is everything you want in a heroine, strong, courageous & resourceful.

The chemistry between Valdis & Erik is evident early in the novel but they must keep their blossoming romance a secret, both their lives depend on Valdi's purity. Nothing like an 'against the odds' love story to get the heart racing, I tell you.

I really enjoyed the look into Norse and Greek culture, the Greek language, the Norse Gods, the practice of seid craft, casting of runes, tossing the knucklebones, I found all of these especially fascinating. But the tales of the harem are both enthralling and horrifying; the opulence, the brutality & cruelty to women, the horror of men made eunuchs to guard harems.

I will certainly be searching out Diana's other titles, Erinsong & Maidensong. Visit Diana Groe's website for excerpts & more information on her books.


  1. Lovely review Teddyree!

    This sounds like a wonderful read.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Your blog is looking so beautiful. :)


  2. Nice review. It does sound like a good book, and I do wonder how they can get a HEA. I am curious now

  3. Wonderful review, thanks for sharing with us!

    I've read Emily Bryan's books before, but I haven't read any of her books as Diana Groe. But that's going to change now-- this book sounds like it's just the kind I'd love, and the cover is amazing, very unique from most of the covers you see. ;)


  4. Sounds like a great historical romance. I love them when they are well done.

  5. I love it when an author takes the time to develop secondary characters. That kind of detail can make a good story great.

  6. Aww thanks Lea :-)

    Blodeuedd ~ if you like historical romance I think you'd enjoy this, Diana has done a wonderful job blending some historical detail with the romance & suspense so makes for a lovely read.

    TBQ ~ if you enjoyed Emily's books then I would eat my hat if you didnt enjoy Diana's lol. It seems meatier to me but maybe a little lighter on the sex?? Different but really good.

  7. I've never read a book (at least I don't think so) with Norse mythology. This one sounds pretty good and who can ignore the 4.5 stars????? Excellent review!!!


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