When Garron of Kersey returns home from the king's service to claim his title as Baron Wareham, he's shocked to find Wareham Castle very nearly destroyed by a man called the Black Demon. Read more...
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More AboutOverviewSet in medieval England, this lively historical romance delivers the trademark wit that fans have come to know and love from the #1 "New York Times"-bestselling author.
When Garron of Kersey returns home from the king's service to claim his title as Baron Wareham, he's shocked to find Wareham Castle very nearly destroyed by a man called the Black Demon.
According to the last starving servants still clinging to life inside the castle walls, the Black Demon was looking for gold belonging to Garron's brother Arthur. Among his remaining servants is the enigmatic Merry, the bastard child of the castle's priest. Garron quickly realizes that she is much more than a servant: She reads and writes and makes lists, just as he does. Together they bring Wareham back to its former splendor.
But this is only the beginning. Did Arthur have a cache of gold? Who is the Black Demon? And the biggest question of all: Who is Merry?
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-12-13
- Reviewer: Staff
This seventh installment in hardworking Coulter's (Knockout) Medieval "Song" series employs stock characters (including a wicked witch for a mother), loyal household retainers, a plucky, resourceful heiress named Merry, a villain called the "Black Demon," a benevolent queen, a medley of wastrels, a conveniently separated-at-birth twin, and Garron, one of King Edward's strong-willed yet honorable guards. With a talent for saucy humor and a tumultuous 13th-century backdrop, the author ably turns such formulaic material into the winsome account of Merry's escape from an arranged marriage. Beginning when Merry flees her mother and joins Garron at Wareham castle, the novel details the woman's efforts in aiding his people, the lies she spins to conceal her identity, and the consequence of revealing the truth. Most chapters conclude at the cliff's edge, and there is little doubt that Merry will eventually achieve her desires, but Coulter's irresistibly escapist storytelling more than makes up for the predictable plot and one-dimensional villains. Fans of lighter historical romances and readers intrigued by an era when honor, power, land, and notions of duty were bound by the mandates of royalty will relish this tale. (Oct. 5)BookPage Reviews
Falling into love
A young widow finds new happiness in Cowboys Never Cry by Tina Welling. Three years before, Cassie Danner’s husband, a world-class climber, fell to his death. Now she lives in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, supporting herself through a string of seasonal jobs. This summer, she’s the cook at the Cross Wave ranch, which runs cattle and caters to tourists. She must deal with the ranch owner too, child-actor-turned-movie-star Robbin McKeag, known most recently for his stint in a mental hospital—an outcome of the stress and excess of his celebrity life. But Robbin seems only crazy about Cassie as the summer wears on, and the entire community has an opinion on the simmering romance. Depth is added to the story with insights into the conflict between ranchers and environmentalists, but it’s a love story at heart. Robbin is sarcastic but endearing as a man flummoxed by his first overwhelming experience with love. Cassie, while more accustomed to such feelings, needs Robbin’s help to push her into the next phase of her life. This is a tender tale of two people who have much to offer each other.
Catherine Coulter returns to penning medieval romance in The Valcourt Heiress. Merry, aka the Valcourt Heiress, is kidnapped as she flees from a marriage arranged by her powerful mother, an abbess purported to be a witch. Dressed as a boy, Merry is rescued by Lord Garron of Kersey, Earl of Wareham, on his way to the lands he’s just inherited. Though Merry escapes both her abductors and Garron, she travels to his castle and hides herself among his people, who were recently traumatized by a man known only as the Black Demon. Without a place of her own, Merry throws herself into helping Garron restore order at Wareham, and the two become close. However, Merry keeps her identity a secret, and when it’s revealed, trouble follows. Missing silver coins, the mysterious villain, the frightening mother—is there a connection? Until Merry and Garron uncover the truth, the path of their love won’t run smooth. With an unpredictable plot and characters readers will root for, Coulter delivers a tale of magic, mayhem and true love.
ROMANCE OF THE MONTH
Gwyn Cready offers a rollicking romantic adventure through time and space in Aching for Always. Joss O’Malley has things under control, particularly a rich fiancé who stepped up to save the family empire as well as the beloved mapmaking company started by her mother. But a serendipitous trek down an unfamiliar alley takes Joss to a tailor’s shop where she meets a handsome man who sends her world spinning. English Navy captain Hugh Hawksmoor has been plotting his revenge for years. He’s determined to kill the man who traveled through time and murdered his brother. But when he finds his way to the 21st century, the object of his ire is already dead. However, his daughter survives, and the beautiful Joss—with the right incentive—might be persuaded to aid Hugh in righting her father’s wrongs. Full of twists, turns and sizzling love scenes, this time-travel romance will have readers turning pages to find out how—and in what year—there will be a happy ever after.