cover image Rosehaven


Catherine Coulter. Putnam Adult, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-399-14143-0

Medieval England provides the background for Coulter's latest spirited romance, a tale that pits willful young heiress Hastings of Trent against her new husband, doughty warrior Severin of Langthorne. The union has been decreed by Hastings's dying father, the Earl of Oxborough, to save her--and the castle and estate--from the evil depredations of Richard de Luci. As de Luci's forces advance on the castle, Severin consummates the marriage with practical dispatch. He explains away his harsh commands and brutal deflowering expedient behavior (if Hastings is no longer a virgin, de Luci cannot claim her as a bride), but Hastings feels she has been raped. Seeking counsel from several older women, she is told she must change her attitude and try to please her husband. She takes their advice and, to her surprise, Severin's behavior toward her changes dramatically. Then, just as the relationship begins to grow, beautiful Lady Marjorie, Severin's long-lost first love, arrives at the castle, perhaps, Hastings fears, to try to win Severin back. Compounding her worries is her discovery that the earl had maintained a mysterious second household at Rosehaven, a keep on the English coast. After an angry confrontation with Severin about Marjorie, Hastings sets out alone to find Rosehaven. The secret of the secluded castle is part of the requisite happy ending, but Coulter's (The Valentine Legacy) portrayal of an abusive husband as a romantic hero may leave some readers less than pleased. Although it is presented in the context of the era, her suggestion that a woman can, by changing her behavior, alter the pattern of abuse in a relationship is frightening. The notion that a physically brutal man can be tamed by an intelligent wife is difficult to accept. Major ad/promo; Doubleday Book Club main selection; Literary Guild featured alternate; author tour. (July)