1347: Calais has finally fallen and Alaun de Montisfryth, first Earl of Montisfryn, powerful lord and companion of Edward III, is dispatched back to England with orders to secure the Welsh border. Halfway home, pride tempts Montisfryn to attend a tournament held by his family's old foes at Versallet Castle.
Eloise de Versallet, the widowed Lady de Cannar, rules her father's castle with a tongue sharper than any sword. She has no great opinion of men in general and of knights in particular.
Montisfryn and Eloise meet and sparks fly. He is intrigued. She is irritated.
He is under royal edict to wed. An experienced lady, well-born, still young, and exceedingly well-endowed with both wealth and beauty, Eloise is a matrimonial prize beyond compare - and has vowed to remain unwed.
Potent and powerful, will Montisfryn be able to breach her walls, storm her castle, and succeed where all others have failed? Or will Eloise, haughty and defiant to the last, prevail? The gauntlet is flung, the challenge accepted. And desire enters the fray.
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I enjoyed it!
This was my first Stephanie Laurens. I absolutely love Medieval romance and overall this was a good one. It is nice to see an author with such talent step outside of her comfort zone by trying a new genre. It's a great first effort. I loved the h/h! They were perfect for each other. Alaun was so understanding, protective and loving towards Eloise. Eloise is strong, practical, wary and sometimes a big too stubborn. I enjoyed seeing their love progress. Secondary characters were engaging but didn't overshadow the h/h (Roland was a favorite and I enjoyed the scenes with King Edward III). The descriptions of the castle and surroundings were amazing,I felt like I was there!
I only had two issues w/ the book: The overall length and # of sex scenes. 1) While I enjoyed the plot, the story was drawn out. The book could have been scaled down some and still achieved the the desired result. I love long books in general but not when it is full of fillers. This book was 15 hours long--about 5 - 7 hours more than needed IMO. Which brings me to issue #2, I love a good steamy romance more than anyone else and enjoy the sex scenes but I found myself ffwd'ing through many scenes there were so many and they were over long at times.
Despite those two issues I really enjoyed it. Overall I'd rate this about a 3.7'ish. If you love Medieval and/or Stephanie Laurens, give this one a try. I am slowly starting to get into Regency and Victorian and SL's books are high on my list to read. I say that because I don't want to give the impression that the two issues I had with the story would keep me from this author. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, she writes beautifully.
The narrator Jim McCabe was great, I enjoyed his accents and tones. He was perfect for the time setting.
- The Duchess
YOU CAN VISUALISE EVERY ENJOYABLE SCENE