From the bestselling, RITA-nominated author Frances Housden comes the gripping, sensual, suspenseful follow-up to The Chieftain’s Curse…
Gavyn Farquhar’s marriage is forged with a double-edged blade. Along with the Comlyn clan’s lands, a reward from the King, he is blessed with an unwilling bride, Kathryn Comlyn, and an ancient fort with few defences that desperately needs to be fortified before it can act as a sufficient buffer between Scotland and the Norsemen on its northern borders.
Gavyn needs wealth to meet his king’s demands, and he knows of only one way to get it — with his sword. Leaving his prickly bride behind in the hands of trusted advisors, he makes his way to the battlegrounds of France and the money that can be made there.
Two years married and Kathryn is still a virgin. A resentful virgin, certain that, like her father before her, she is perfectly capable of leading the Comlyn clan. In her usurper husband’s absence, she meets the clan’s needs, advising and ruling as well as any man.
But she is an intelligent woman, and she knows the only respect and power she will ever hold will be through her husband. And to wield it, she needs to make him love her. An easy task to set, but impossible to complete, when said husband has been gone for two years, and there is no word of his return. But Kathryn is undeterred. After all, a faint heart never won a Chieftain.
Review: I really enjoyed this Medieval period Scottish romance. The writing is really, really authentic to the time and so are the descriptions of landscape and apparel. The story is about the strength of Kathryn Comlyn who is married off to Gavyn Farquhar by the king’s command and her journey as the leader of her clan, her efforts to win her husband’s love, and the rewards she is blessed with due to her willingness to work with the cards she had been dealt.
Gavyn is a scarred Highland warrior who certainly finds Kathryn breathtakingly beautiful but when she rejects him he doesn’t force the issue, but instead runs away to fight and politic in France. So, in his two year absence Kathryn learns to rule her clan and does a great job it, but she also knows that her husband will return and in order to maintain all she has worked for she will have to win his love. That might be a rather difficult task since the two parted with venomous words and upon his return she nearly shot him with her arrow.
There is, however, trouble brewing with Gavyn’s return and a plot was already underway right under Kathryn’s nose. While Kathryn eventually makes progress in her marriage there are still many issues for the couple to work through, but danger rears it’s ugly head and the long fought for love the couple has found could all be for naught.
I thing the author did a great job of telling this love story which is such a wonderful departure from all those polite regencies out there. If the book has a flaw it is in the authenticity of the language. There is a glossary at the beginning of the book that will help, but at times this did slow down the pace for me. It’s easy to read, don’t get me wrong, it’s just slowed me down some as I had to read it more carefully.
This story has substance, intrigue, grit and realism that add to the slow and sensual love affair between Gavyn and Kathryn. The couple initially bonds sexually, but over time Gavyn begins to realize there is more to marriage than night time pleasures. He begins to wish for a true relationship with his wife. I loved the emotional and mature growth that took place with this couple, I loved all the plotting and intrigue and the final showdown where Gavryn will be Kathryn’s true hero. Once I started this one I couldn’t put it down! Well done.