The Daughters of Penruddock

A Romance Collection

Fiction - Anthology
491 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Ronnda Eileen Henry read a lot of history, biography, science fiction, and Regency romances when she was young, and her two favorite authors are Jane Austen and Aleksandra Layland. She has the heart of a romantic and believes romance is for people of any age. Sweet romance is her favorite, whether it's for a teenager or a person in his or her middle age. Retired now, she lives in Florida.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Daughters of Penruddock is a collected saga of seven romance novellas by author Ronnda Eileen Henry. Each story can be read as a standalone in any order, and all the tales are set in the pseudo-medieval fantasy world of Penruddock, where modern society hasn’t quite caught up with female progressive thinking yet. Despite this, the women of these tales take an emancipatory stance on finding love, whatever level of society they are born into, each changing the minds and hearts of the men around them by their actions. From knights and princesses to the lower-born working people, this slice of life from the world of Penruddock covers it all.

Reading the collection as an interconnected work gives a really atmospheric picture of the society which author Ronda Eileen Henry has created. I particularly liked the tale of Princess Henrietta, who began her journey educating a young prince on the ways of her kingdom so that he could marry another woman. Throughout the tales, the plots twist to give interesting and pleasing conclusions to the dilemmas of the female protagonists, and there are plenty of opportunities for the men of Penruddock to be surprised and changed by the power of the women they meet.

Henry has created a lively and uplifting romance series in The Daughters of Penruddock that can be enjoyed by readers of all ages, which is much more of a study of true romance, where people come together through shared traits and understanding rather than the boring ‘insta-love’ of today. The Daughters of Penruddock is a highly recommended read.

Peggy Jo Wipf

The Daughters of Penruddock: A Romance Collection by Ronnda Eileen Henry comprises the stories of seven women of the seven kingdoms within the vast island of Penruddock. Emily and Knight Robin begin their relationship hinging on their responsibility to Lord Otto and his daughter, Grace. Assigned to document negotiations, Lord Henry and his daughter, Henrietta, travel to distant lands to draw up nuptials. Along the way, Henrietta must educate Prince Harold about the language and culture of his betrothed. As four knights return from war, each desires to find gainful employment as knights or just continue the work they did before the war. Two find occupations that come with a wife, leaving William and Richard. Competing in a tournament, William comes across the woman that persuades him to give up bachelorhood. 

Captain Lewin supervises an expedition of cartographers as they map out the Island of Penruddock. Among the group are widow Glenys and her son. Karsten was betrothed to Denisa when she was just eight, with a promise he would come back for her in ten years. Forced into slavery, this prevents him from contacting his family, allowing them to believe he is dead. Fiona, the navigator’s daughter, is a novelty as the only woman taking classes at the academy. Adrian knocks her over at their first meeting, only to find out they have a common acquaintance, his sister. Friendship blossoms, but they both know as a noble and common born that is as far as it can go. Their hearts refuse to accept this. Devyn Rose, The Innkeeper’s Daughter begins with the story of her grandparents and how they developed a little community within the grounds of the old castle in Tenwick. This would be my favorite story as it goes through several generations of this family.

Ronnda Eileen Henry combines these novellas into one novel, though you can buy most of these separately. It weaves common names of royalty within the stories, giving the reader the feel of one complete story. Ronnda Eileen Henry demonstrates a mastery of historical fiction with strong women who know they want to marry for love, even if they are not socially matched. The author created a new world that feels like old England with its nobleman and commoners. There are guidelines each class must follow. As love knows no boundaries, Henry devises a way for these couples to have their happy ending. Each pair must overcome obstacles and, as the reader becomes more involved in their lives, the answers to their problems remain concealed until the end. I would recommend this to those readers who love historical romance with a touch of fantasy.

Asher Syed

The Daughters of Penruddock: A Romance Collection by Ronnda Eileen Henry is an anthology of seven short stories that chronicle the lives of seven distinct women from different backgrounds within the social order of the fictional medieval land of Penruddock (Holsby, Formby, Crozby, Tenby, Selby, Corby, and The Fells). Each woman and her story are unique, with photography depicting Emily, Henrietta, Petra, Glenys, Denisa, Devyn Rose, and Fiona before their tale begins. Woven throughout is the central theme of the land itself and the plight of these ladies to forge their own way within a patriarchal civilization.

The Daughters of Penruddock is a timely addition to Ronnda Eileen Henry's published work even as the time of the stories themselves is set in the distant, medieval past. As a parent to a teenage daughter, I am always interested in books that inspire as much as they entertain, and Henry delivers both in this well-written, clean collection. My favorite short story is Henrietta, The Diplomat’s Daughter, which follows the plucky titular character who still has to fight for what she desires despite having been born with privilege. “I’m fortunate to come from a family in which girls are often educated as scribes; and to live in a kingdom like Penruddock which doesn’t forbid or disdain it.” I'd highly recommend this anthology to any who enjoy historical fiction, romance, and coming of age stories with a light feminist twist and the added benefit of being formatted in delicious, bite-sized morsels.