cover image By Arrangement

By Arrangement

Madeline Hunter. Bantam Books, $6.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-553-58222-2

Outraged by her unwilling betrothal to a common merchant and infatuated with a handsome knight of the royal court, medieval Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn pleads with her fianc to end this misalliance arranged by King Edward of England. For personal and political reasons of his own, David de Abyndon refuses to renounce the marriage and begins a gentle but resolute seduction of his innocent bride. As Christiana awakens to the painful realities of her first love and becomes a part of David's London world, she learns to cherish the husband she first despised. David tries to shield her from his old enemies and a mysterious French familial connection as he secretly assists King Edward in planning an invasion of France. This first novel in a planned trilogy intertwines the difficulties of David and Christiana's marriage with a subplot that contains both political and personal peril as well as a lively cast of secondary characters. Just enough historical detail of 14th-century England enhances a love story that culminates in the sacking of a French city and the revelation of David's true identity. Debut author Hunter begins this new series with a thoroughly satisfying launch that leaves the reader eager for the next episode in the lives of her engaging characters. (June)