cover image The Conquest

The Conquest

Jude Deveraux. Pocket Books, $7.99 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-671-64447-5

This amusing and optimistic romance champions the notion that affection, trust and a firm desire for peace can triumph in a brutal world. And while it will never warm the cockles of a feminist's heart, readers can even enjoy watching Deveraux ( The Taming ) poke fun at one of the genre's sappier devices--a man so devastatingly handsome that a woman can only faint in his arms. This sequel on the warring Peregrine and Howard clans--late medieval Hatfields and McCoys--follows Zared, a tough young woman who has been raised to dress as a boy and fight like a man. Her family has nearly been impoverished by its feud with the Howards, and Severn, her brother, decides to win himself a rich wife: the unofficial prize of an upcoming tournament is the daughter of a neighboring family. So off he goes with his sister as his squire. But one man at the games isn't fooled by Zared's disguise. Tearle Howard, who grew up in France away from the conflict, sees in her a passionate young woman who might help him end their families' bitter struggle, if only he can persuade her not to loathe him. (Feb.)