Ms. Hegger sweeps her readers into medieval England where barons reign supreme on their lands and have almost an arm’s length relationship with the King in London. Anglesea thrives under the rule of Sir Arthur, who is a just and kind man revered by his children and his people. Roger is the eldest son and heir to Anglesea, well trained in martial and courtly skills and is ready to take a bride, settle down, and step into his father’s shoes. With marvelous charm and wit, the author weaves the tale of Roger’s journey to winning his true love, bringing history alive through the words and actions of the rich cast of characters who play their supporting roles in this story.
Roger has put together a list of his ideal woman and Mathilda (Matty) of Mandeville fits all his requirements, except she doesn’t seem to be too receptive to his courtship that is carried out under the benevolent eyes of both sets of families. Katherine, Matty’s sister, seems to strike sparks off Roger and the father seems to be cruel and abusive of his daughter which gains her some sympathy from Roger.
Unfortunately for Roger, Matty runs off to the convent before she can marry him. Soon he and Katherine team up to bring back Matty and convince her of the rightness of Roger’s suit. Along the way Katherine shares her dream of escaping the brutality of her life to live by the sword and become a shield maiden. During the journey Roger’s feelings change and he’s in a position of rescuing Katherine from various scrapes that she gets herself into.
Katherine has been raised by an abusive father who uses fists and words to express his opinions. Roger’s words and actions give Katherine an opportunity to see what a relationship with a good man could be like, though, of course, nothing can stand in the way of her desire for independence. Forced to marry Roger under punishment from her father is not an auspicious beginning for a relationship, but the slow warming of desire, respect and friendship make for a lovely romance.
Sir Arthur is an interesting and refreshingly different character for the nobility of the time and he has definitely raised his children to be worthy of their station in life. This story, of course, brings me right into the middle of the series, but given the superb writing and the even richer and tempting covers, I am definitely resolved to read the back titles in the series.
This story ends on a cliff hanger with so many possibilities that I can’t wait to read how the author will weave in the growing unrest in the country into what should be a very intriguing story.
A battle of wills . . .
As the oldest son and heir to Anglesea, it is Roger’s duty to stand tall and strong. But his tough exterior belies the heart of a true romantic, a devoted son who yearns for the deep love he has witnessed between his parents and his sisters and their husbands. However, with the Anglesea family jockeying for a more advantageous position, Roger must marry judiciously.
A fight for the heart . . .
Having spent her childhood watching her mother suffer, Kathryn of Mandeville is determined never to marry. To be as a Viking shield maiden of old is her heart’s only desire. But when her sister Matty runs away to escape Roger’s sensible proposal, Kathryn is forced to help Roger find a more suitable bride. Bound by duty, Roger and Kathryn soon discover they are facing a much tougher fight–the one that is within their hearts . . .