A Publishers Weekly Top 10 Pick for Spring 2015
He’d defend her keep…
After proving himself on the field of battle, Ramon de Segrave is appointed to the Council of Barons by Richard the Lionheart. But instead of taking his most formidable warrior on his latest Crusade, the king assigns Ramon an even more dangerous task—woo and win the Lady of Thistle Keep.
If only she’d yield her heart
Isabel of Camoys is a capable widow with no intention of surrendering her valuable estate. She’s fought long and hard for her independence, and if the price is loneliness, then so be it. She will not yield…even if she does find the powerful knight’s heated embrace impossible to ignore.
But when her land is threatened, Isabel reluctantly agrees to allow Ramon and his army to defend the keep—knowing that the price may very well be her heart.
Here’s what you can expect from Mary Wine:
“Major sizzle factor.” —Lucy Monroe, USA Today bestselling author
“A fast-paced tale.” —RT Book Reviews
“Exceptionally well researched and extremely authentic.” —Night Owl Reviews<
Widow and warrior face off in a battle of wills in this feisty launch of Wine's Courtly Love series. Clever, competent Isabel of Camoys has been hardworking and enterprising since her husband's death, resulting in a thriving estate that supports her well-fed populace. But her home of Thistle Keep is vulnerable; the estate is situated near the unstable Welsh border in 1189 England, and the men have left for the Crusades. King Richard the Lionheart dispatches his dutiful baron Ramon de Segrave, a seasoned soldier, to defend the area, preferably by wedding Isabel; she resists, fearing she will lose her independence to the headstrong Ramon. Meanwhile, Isabel's evil former brother-in-law, Jacques Raeburn, plots to reclaim his brother's land by forcibly marrying Isabel. Wine's signature flirtatious banter fans the flames between the combative Isabel and Ramon, heightening their passion for each other. Kidnapping, poisoning, and a wicked courtesan all play parts in this spirited historical, helmed by a delightfully capable heroine.
a series that is sure to be on the must read list of many.
Historic romance has such a large field for setting, I’m surprised more authors don’t utilize the medieval era. Mary Wine jumped right into the era with A Sword for His Lady, setting our characters in the time and court of Richard the Lionheart and 12th century England.
Isabel is a widow with the control (for now) of her lands and the Thistle Keep, a premium spot close to the Welsh border. As Isabel is working her independence, a fleeting thing, she comes face to face with a knight from Richard’s Army, fresh from his own newly-granted lands with an order to woo and wed her.
Roman de Segrave is one of Richard’s loyal knights, granted the title of Baron and given lands that neighbor both Isabel and Thistle Keep and the Welsh border. Thinking defensively, and for the enrichment of the crown (granted lands can always be taken back) Richard strongly suggests (orders) Roman to woo and wed the woman, thus adding to his own property.
Roman is charming, loyal and in truth, a touch of a caveman, but then, most men of his time were. Women’s rights were non-existent, and a woman managing an estate of value was unthinkable. While Roman and Isabel butt heads more often than not over his presumption of her need of ‘protection’, the attraction between them is palpable. Although Isabel is loathe to admit it, Roman intrigues her, and a life with him does not seem entirely distasteful, even though the thought of losing her hard won respect and independence rankles.
Then, the twist. And Isabel realizes that a relationship with Roman, while losing her some of her own power may just be preferable to the threats to her land, independence and happiness. And Roman is there, like a knight in shining armor (yeah – I know) to save the day and win the lady’s heart.
Plenty of action, heat and a touch of treachery help to move this story forward, bringing both Isabel and Roman into clear focus as they both battle for what they want, need and even desire. Not shying away from the less-palatable moments of the time, nor pulling any punches with the overtly patriarchal society, both Roman and Isabel had their moments to shine and grow as readers are transported into their lives and times. Mary Wine has penned a fabulous start to a series that is sure to be on the must read list of many.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.