In this medieval romance, Lord John, earl of Farleigh, was a landless knight until the death of his family to sickness. He had no expectations of ever being titled, but now he is earl with many responsibilities. He has to marry and protect his family lands from the evil baron Elwood of Eye. Lady Gwyneth is a widow who suffered greatly at the hands of her first husband when he married her at 14 years old. When she hears that Lord John is to marry her 15 year old sister, she devises a plan to prevent that from happening. Knowing that her sister is in love with a young man closer to her age, Gwyneth is ready to sacrifice herself because she does not want her sister to experience the horrors of marriage to an old brute.
At first, I was annoyed with the author for the very similar names she gave Gwyneth and Gwendolyn (her sister). There were times that I could not tell the two sisters apart. But it started to make sense, when I realized part of went deceit had to do with the fact that she was changing places with her sister. It made the story even more believable that John would not be able to keep the two sisters names straight as well. Then I started thinking of the author as somewhat of a genius. I get it! There was a method to her madness.
Gwyneth endured so much abuse at the hands of her father and her first husband that she could not begin to understand how to do to take John. He was a man, so she expects him to mistreat her as all the other men in her life did. But after marrying John, she experienced many new pleasant sensations **wink wink**. Since married life to John was nothing like she thought it would be, she was suspicious. She wanted to enjoy it, and, at the same time, did not want to let down her guard. There were times when John was trying to be considerate, and she mistook his actions for some type of devious behavior to demean her. At times it was a little exasperating to me as the reader, but then I would remember she had already been through a lot from a very young age and who knows how I would have reacted in the same situation. If the author had not spent so much time on Gwyneth’s character working through her trust issues, it would have not seemed as realistic. Plus the story would have been less interesting.
John, on the other hand, had fewer internal issues to deal work through. I really did like John’s character. He was a true knight in shining armor. He went into the marriage with the expectation that if he treats his wife well, everything will be okay. Granted, he thinks she is her younger sister who he imagines is delicate and inexperienced. I thought it was sweet nonetheless. I admit that I concerned how long Gwyneth would wait until she told him the truth about her deception. They were getting along so well and I knew there would be some fall out once everything was revealed. I was hoping that there would not be a rush at the end to wrap up the story. When John finds out the truth, I found myself reading and holding my breath trying to imagine the heavy tension in the scene.
Overall, I think the author did a very good job with this story. The characters were so developed, I felt like they were real people. I was totally engaged in the story that I could not put the book down until I reached the end. I am happy that Gwyneth found someone to love and care for her. John needed a strong woman by his side that would be loyal no matter what. With all they went through, I am convinced they had a happy-ever-after ending.
Rating Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥♥♥♥
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