Chieftain

Arnette Lamb, Author
Arnette Lamb, Author Pocket Books $6.5 (320p) ISBN 978-0-671-77937-5
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-5458-8
Paperback - 404 pages - 978-0-7838-1279-3
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With medieval Anglo-Scottish conflict as a backdrop, Lamb's ( Border Bride ) latest romance provides a detailed look at 14th-century English domestic life, with a dose of political history thrown in. At the behest of her dying twin, Clare, Johanna Benison masquerades as Clare, taking care of her Yorkshire estate and young son for seven years when Clare's supposedly dead husband, the Scottish Chieftain Drummond Macqueen, suddenly materializes, elephant in tow, to reclaim his wife and child. Long imprisoned by the King of England, Drummond has no idea his wife is dead and Johanna fears that if he discovers her ruse, he will take her cherished nephew away from her. Such a discovery is bound to occur as soon as Drummond sleeps with his supposed wife because, unlike Clare, Johanna is a virgin. The obvious solution is to find excuses to reject his amorous advances, but Johanna has another problem--she finds Drummond, who frequently struts about shirtless in skintight hose, irresistably attractive. Given this set-up, the story's central conflicts are rather predictable, but some engaging minor charcters, from Drummond's cryptic Welsh elephant keeper, to Johanna's flamboyant feminist friend Glory, to the elephant himself (whose presence in medieval England is taken very much in stride), liven things up nicely. (Apr.)
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