A Year and a Day

Virginia Henley, Author Delacorte Press $19.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-385-31817-4
Scotland's 13th-century wars of independence provide the gory backdrop for Henley's 12th novel (and second foray into hardcover, after Dream Lover). Free-spirited Jane Leslie learns healing spells from her proud Scottish grandma and vows never to burden herself with a husband. But her father, Jock, the steward of Dumfries castle, has other ideas. He spies the perfect opportunity in Lynx de Warenne, the English lord who arrives to secure Dumfries for the crown. Warenne, a widower, is desperate to produce an heir. Citing the Leslie clan's tendency for prolific procreation, Jock offers Jane to de Warenne in handfasting--a yearlong trial marriage--in exchange for the lord's promise of making Jane his true wife if she produces a baby. Needless to say, Jane's wide-eyed naivete soon turns to lasciviousness under the hand of the experienced lord. While the plot device of innocent-Scottish-maiden-meets-brave-English-lord may be hackneyed, Henley pulls off her version with panache, creating memorable characters including such historical figures as William Wallace and Robert the Bruce. Steamy sex and bloody battles are vividly detailed in a nicely paced narrative that uses genre stereotypes without apology and to good effect. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/02/1998
Release date: 02/01/1998
Open Ebook - 269 pages - 978-0-307-56857-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-79395-3
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-440-79396-0
Mass Market Paperbound - 496 pages - 978-0-440-22207-1
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