If anyone has been looking for a romance set in a time and place other than 19th century England or a medieval set in England or Ireland or Scotland or even the British Isles in general, this is a book for you. It’s set in 1525. In Saxony. That’s right, it’s in the Holy Roman Empire (or the German area of Europe) and it’s right after the Protestant Reformation has started in Wittenburg after Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the church door. Talk about a setting that’s not that popular, and Bennett definitely runs with it.
Baronesse Sabina von Ziegler has traded one prison for another. Locked away in a convent by her greedy adoptive father she escapes and comes home to reclaim her inheritance, only to find herself locked in the dungeon by her father for refusing to help him in any way. Her only way out is to marry a man her father has found for her, though she knows that there are many ulterior motives in play that she doesn’t know much about.
To hide the shame from his father’s death and debts, Wolfgang Behaim agrees to the marriage to Sabina under duress from her father. He’d never planned to marry after his wife died, but Sabina is not what he expected from a former nun. As the marriage progresses both realize they can’t not consummate the union, the attraction is so very strong, but both have demons they need to deal with, as well as the machinations of Sabina’s father and other Reformation events out of their control, to find happiness in the end.
Sabina had a good amount of spunk and backbone for a woman who’d basically been beat down by her father then a convent for the last decade. Not that she didn’t cry when things got tough, but she didn’t let them get her down. Though a Baronesse, she hasn’t had a pampered life and pitches in as she can around Wolf’s household. The scars she carries from her treatment by her father for a tragic incident in her past are overcome in a realistic manner, if it is perhaps a bit out of place in a realistic relationship from the time.
Wolf has the burden of his father’s death, which he’s lied to everyone about, as well as his fear of loving anyone again after his wife’s death in childbirth. Wolf does a lot of pointless fighting of his emotions, even for a male who doesn’t acknowledge his own feelings until it’s almost too late. He’s still a noble guy, running his own printing business in Nuremberg as well as taking over his father’s in Wittenburg. Yep folks, that’s right, our hero is a working man in a historical occupation that makes sense in 1525 Saxony.
I loved the history in the background of this story. Brief mentions of Martin Luther and some of his followers as well as Thomas Muntzer, a troublemaker of the time. It gave a great feeling and setting to the story that brought the period alive, and I’m sure there are not a lot of people familiar with this period in history. I would have preferred if Wolf had been a bit more accepting of his own feelings, but with Sabina’s backbone and the great historical feeling, I’d recommend this one to anyone in the mood for a historical in a fresh setting.
When her brief, disastrous marriage to a fortune hunter ends in scandal, Baronesse Sabina von Ziegler’s vengeful adoptive father imprisons her in a cloister. She arranges a daring escape and suddenly finds herself betrothed to Wolfgang Behaim, a tradition-bound printer from the rising middle class with a secret that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear. As they fight to discover the truth of the mysteries surrounding the Baron’s machinations, they find themselves challenged by a fiery passion they cannot resist. Can they overcome their past and find love even as lies, war, and an unexpected enemy conspire against them?
Read an excerpt here.