Tales From a Lady's Bower

A Collection

Fiction - Anthology
477 Pages
Reviewed on 12/12/2022
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Isabella Berdyna Zysk is a self-published author who enjoys a story in which good guys win in the end even if there's a struggle along the way which all don't survive. She's a storyteller at heart and keeps the narrative suitable for both adult and young adult readers. She loves a medieval-like setting in fantasy worlds where knightly chivalry and noble valor are the goal but with access to better hygiene.

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.

Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. Over her career she lived in many places from Florida to Alaska, and from Japan to Italy. She is a past member of The Society of Women Engineers.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite

Tales from a Lady’s Bower, edited by Isabella Berdyna Zysk, commences with “The Tale of Lindy and Kenric” in which two people discover feelings based on compatibility. “The Tale of Edmund and Ellinor” shows two teens who are reluctant to marry brought together later in life. “The Tale of Denisa and Karsten” recounts the adventure of a man who overcomes adversity to claim his betrothed. “The Tale of Kahutane” is a spiritual tale that describes a man coming to terms with grief. “The Tale of Brother Kapa’a” is the compassionate story of a man finding his place in life. Finally, “The Tale of Prince Ercanbald and the Chieftain of Darad” is packed with excitement and intrigue.

Tales from a Lady’s Bower curates a collection of romance novellas. I was impressed by the variety and compatibility of these tales. Penned by different authors, they shared a tone that created cohesion between narratives. Each tale charmed and intrigued me, while the framing narrative of the scribe named “Spring” was clever, making an appealing story in its own right. My absolute favorite was “The Tale of Prince Ercanbald and the Chieftain of Darad”, where I loved the character of Roz, starting with her full name, Roswitha. I admired her practicality and willingness to marry to create peace. She deserved the happiness she found with her chosen groom. I also liked Ercanbald, which was shortened to Baldo. He was resourceful and pragmatic, dealing fairly with his rebellious daughter. Behind the scenes lurked a mystery I was eager to solve. Together, Tales from a Lady’s Bower edited by Isabella Berdyna Zysk represents an outstanding collection of medieval-styled chronicles.

Michelle Stanley

Tales From a Lady’s Bower: A Collection is a beautiful anthology of romantic fantasy adventures by Isabella Berdyna Zysk, Ronda Eileen Henry, and Aleksandra Layland. A scribe named Spring is hired to conduct an inventory of the late Lady Emmaline’s estate at Greenholme Keep. While cataloging books in the lady’s bower, she becomes fascinated by journals written by Lady Emmaline. Spring feels a surprising connection to the characters as she reads each adventure. Denisa and Karsten: The Castellan’s Daughter is a touching tale that encourages one never to give up hope and to keep promises. Other stories include Edmund and Ellinor, Lindy and Kenric, Prince Ercanbald and the Chieftain of Darad, and The Tale of Brother Kapa’a.

I was captivated by Tales from a Lady’s Bower. It’s a magnificent, absorbing, well-crafted collection of stories by three strong and talented writers who take readers on numerous historical adventures involving knights, wars, and courting damsels. Fearless, brave, witty, ambitious, sad, and romantic are just a few words to describe the well-defined, spunky characters that fight for honor, love, and freedom. Every dramatic tale is unique, and so are the settings that depict what medieval times were like. I also liked the subtle, amusing ways the couples were flirtatious, even while defending their land against invaders. This selection by Isabella Berdyna Zysk, Ronda Eileen Henry, and Aleksandra Layland is an engaging read.

Jamie Michele

Three medieval fantasy authors, Isabella Berdyna Zysk, Ronnda Eileen Henry, and Aleksandra Layland, put some of their work together to form a collection of novellas and short stories in Tales From a Lady's Bower. The compilation has a unique format in that it is presented as the work of Lady Emmaline, who left them after her passing and was later come across by Spring, who had initially gone to 'The House on the Hill' on a less demiurgic task. What emerges is a series of stories with an overriding story, beginning and ending with Spring; Lady Emmaline and the three authors incorporate offshoot tales from their independent fantasy worlds, forming what Spring finds in the bower as one.

There can be no question that Isabella Berdyna Zysk, Ronnda Eileen Henry, and Aleksandra Layland know how to spin a story. It's always a treat when writers collaborate and to have three in the same genre share pieces of their worlds for bite-sized immersions is wonderful. The stories themselves put us, as readers, in a wide range of settings, dancing between pirates, nobility, and storytellers themselves in scenes that are frequently almost cinematic in describing where we are. The wit in the dialogue gave me more than a few smiles with one of my favorites being: “I must say, Princess,” Gareth got out between bites of bread, “that your companion knows her way around a sack of flour.” Each novella is preceded by the author’s vision of what the characters look like, something I tend to have mixed feelings about but given that these are compact stories, it does allow for quicker immersion. Overall, Tales From a Lady's Bower is a wonderful read and I easily recommend it.