Linda Needham, Author . Avon $5.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-380-81524-1

Through tight plotting and dynamic characterizations, Needham (My Wicked Earl) portrays the plight of the 12th-century female in this sweet yet simple offering. Lady Talia resides at Carrisford Castle, which, unfortunately, is a strategic prize in King Stephen's endless wars. Six warlords have ravished it while trying to take flame-haired Talia to the altar by force, and each time, she has evaded marriage and gotten away with it—until Alex de Monteneau rides in proclaiming to be her new guardian and lord. Her first act is to hit Alex over the head, and her first words are that she will never marry him. Sparks flare quickly between the combatant pair, especially when Alex tries to force Talia to marry a man of his choosing. Predictably, he falls for the fiery termagant himself, but war stands between them, a war that Talia hopes to escape and which Alex, the King's man, cannot avoid. Needham's characterizations are inconsistent at times—as when King Stephen, sounding like a modern-day aristocrat, says, "Blazes, Alex! You've done a right fine job with this castle." Still, there's no denying that this breezy romance is full of charm, verve and lovable characters. (Oct. 1)

Reviewed on: 09/09/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-173966-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 384 pages - 978-0-06-157006-3
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-157007-0
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-0-06-157003-2
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