The Maiden Bride

Rexanne Becnel, Author
Rexanne Becnel, Author St. Martin's Press $6.5 (326p) ISBN 978-0-312-95978-4
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Inspired by an intriguing bit of historical trivia, Becnel (Heart of the Storm) spins an absorbing, sexually charged tale of revenge and redemption in 12th-century England. Linnea de Valcourt is the youngest of identical twins, a status that nearly condemns her to death in infancy because of the belief that the second of a pair of twins is cursed. Reviled by all, she is befriended only by her ""good"" twin, Beatrix. When the family's castle falls to conqueror Axton de la Manse, he seeks to secure his claim by marrying the de Valcourts' eldest daughter: Beatrix. To prove her worth to her family, Linnea takes her sister's place, giving her scheming grandmother time to find a more acceptable suitor to claim both Beatrix and the castle. The tension between husband and surrogate wife is unrelenting as they torment and gradually come to love each other, with the heroine's deception powering an exciting climax. (Sept.)
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