Warner, 2005 (2005)
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Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton
n 1145, Alberic, bastard son of the Earl of Chester, has just slain William de Leon in the name of King Stephen, and been granted the estate of Camelen. Knighted by Stephen, Alberic is offered his choice of wife amongst the three half English, half Welsh de Leon daughters. The two not chosen are to be sent to a nunnery and to the King's Court. Alberic decides to marry the middle daughter, Gwendolyn. The strongest of the three sisters, Gwen is also the inheritor of her mother's legacy, which involves Merlin, magic, and the love between the woman who owns the
and the man who wears the ring of
t is with sadness that the sisters part. Gwendolyn marries Alberic, but what she doesn't expect happens. She falls in love with him. Gwen hopes to pass her legacy to her own children. Alberic, who does not believe in Welsh legends, mocks Gwen, but one thing bothers him - he cannot take off the ring that he took from Gwen's deceased father, Hugh de Leon. Gwen sees this as a sign, but Alberic thinks she's mad. Also in the picture is Ap Idwal, betrothed to Gwen before Alberic came into the picture, and determined on revenge. Gwen originally wanted to be with Ap Idwal, although she never met him, but she wonders why her father never sealed the agreement on paper.
his is a well-written historical romance, filled with legends of the days of Merlin and King Arthur. It has a quality of the ethereal, done well enough that I bought into the magic of the ring and pendant. I didn't care for Alberic at first, but think the author made the conquering knight unlikable intentionally. Though I didn't think that it would make any sense for Alberic and Gwendolyn to fall in love, that transition came through logically and naturally.
is the perfect read for those who enjoy their historical romances with a touch of fantasy.
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