cover image Taming the Beast

Taming the Beast

Heather Grothaus, . . Zebra, $6.99 (346pp) ISBN 978-1-4201-0243-7

Grothaus (The Highlander ) dresses up a standard forced-marriage story with references to Beauty and the Beast in this capable 12th-century historical romance. Lord Roderick Cherbon has returned home from the Crusades physically and emotionally scarred. He must nonetheless wed before he turns 30 or lose his home and wealth. Enter impoverished Lady Michaela Fortune, who believes herself engaged to Roderick's cousin, handsome Lord Alan Tornfield. When Alan weds another, humiliated Michaela decides to take Roderick's offer instead, though she knows it will be hard to win his trust. Alan confuses matters further by continuing to court her, but does he want her as his mistress or is he more interested in the Cherbon estate? Though marred by occasional anachronistic language (“Necessary rooms?” “Oh, you know... where you go to tinkle”), this romance is solid and entertaining. (Nov.)