New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather introduces a sizzling new series that moves from the remote wilds of southwest England to the turbulent royal court, when a lovely young woman is forced into marriage in order to unite two families—and discovers a most unexpected passion. . .
Ariadne Carfax has vowed to be with the man she loves, Gabriel Fawcett. There’s just one obstacle. On his deathbed, Ari’s grandfather decrees that she marry her childhood friend Ivor Chalfont, thus forging a powerful alliance between the two warring families. Giving Ari no time to protest, the elders plan her wedding the next day, forcing her to follow through on the nuptials. Though she is fond of Ivor, Ari has no intention of consummating their marriage—until he kindles an intoxicating desire that she can’t ignore. Ivor has loved Ari for years, but he doesn’t want an unwilling wife. He wants Ari to ache with the same irresistible longing he feels. And if that’s the way to woo her into his bed and into their new life, he won’t rest until his new bride surrenders to true love.
Feather's dress-up drama set in 1684 has plenty of zest, but not enough to compensate for its flaws. Ariadne Fairfax is the tiny, feisty daughter of a titled family that fell from grace in England's Civil War. Now she makes her living by smuggling. Ari is betrothed to the man who was raised as her foster brother, Ivor Chalfont. Although Ivor is muscular, hairy, authoritative, and her dearest friend, Ari doesn't want him as her husband. Instead, she yearns for a poet by the name of Gabriel Fawcett. Though she gives Gabriel her virginity, she can't escape Ivor's steely determination to honor family obligations. There are some interesting moments when newlyweds Ivor and Ari frankly discuss Ari's divided loyalties, but these are too few to overcome the clich s, the stock plots, and the cheesy caricatures that pass for characters.
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Wonderful story, read it in two days. Strong women and stronger men.