Lady Sabine is harboring a skin blemish, one, that if revealed, could cause her to be branded as a witch, put her life in danger, and damage her chances of making a good marriage. After all, what nobleman would want to marry a woman so flawed?
Sir Bennet is returning home to protect his family from an imminent attack by neighboring lords who seek repayment of debts. Without fortune or means to pay those debts, Sir Bennet realizes his only option is to make a marriage match with a wealthy noblewoman. As a man of honor, he loathes the idea of courting a woman for her money, but with time running out for his family’s safety, what other choice does he have?
As Lady Sabine and Sir Bennet are thrust together under dangerous circumstances, will they both be able to learn to trust each other enough to share their deepest secrets? Or will those secrets ultimately lead to their demise?
“They’re priceless treasures. Each marking or chip makes them even more special.” That line right there encompassed the basic truth of this book for me. When I talked about the idea of perhaps requesting this book, Kristin almost insisted I do it. My concern was that it was the 3rd book in a series. She insisted that it read perfectly as a stand alone novel, and I’m very glad I listened (don’t let it go to your head Kristin!). Lady Sabine deals with her own insecurities due to a birthmark that is considered a mark of witchcraft. Sir Bennet deals with the fact that his older brother has allowed his grief to cloud his ability to make wise decisions and he is called home to attempt to set things right. They are drawn together over their love of priceless artifacts. Artifacts that others see as dispensable, decrepit, and not really worth holding onto. They are pulled apart due to her insecurities and his seeming ability to let chivalry and nobility cloud his judgement and ability to communicate real feelings. And of course the siege, and stubbornness (on both their parts), and the influence of others. But they manage to overcome all of that and conquer all without losing the story and falling to cliches. Almost too perfectly overcoming it all but I’ll let that slide. Though I think my next book needs to go the opposite of romance, happy endings are starting to cloud my grumpy edges.
This book, while set in a historical time period, did not read awkwardly (as they sometimes do) and provided such believable characters. They both made me want to Gibbs’ Smack them which restores my faith in humanity and fiction since it’s been a while since I had characters to pull me in and want to show them the way. I wanted them both to actually say what they felt and thought instead of fighting within themselves. You know, like humans do. Every. Last. One. Of. Us. If you tell me you don’t second guess your thoughts and feelings and how the other person may or may not react to those well, I don’t believe you. It’s a real thing and when you see if from the outside you realize that it’s redundant and annoying. Doesn’t stop us from doing it though, does it? And while annoying, draws me to those characters and makes me feel for them and root for them and well you know, bond with them.
The only thing that I really didn’t like about the book, and it truly is more an annoyance, because I’m me, than a true flaw is that everything worked out at just the right time. Every time. Hand to hand combat and our time is going down? Friends ride to the rescue. And how the gravy did they even know to come when everyone said they didn’t have time to get a message out. And how did they even hear rumors when they were sieged in? I won’t go into detail about the other ‘perfectly’ timed rescue as it would give away too much. I get that at times in real life things sometimes just work out perfectly at the exact right last moment but it’s an exception not the rule. I feel like it was the rule here. Annoyance as I’m not a ‘must have happy endings’ kind of gal but did not detract from the story for me.
I was so blessed to be provided a complimentary copy of this book through Celebrate Lit and NetGalley. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.
About Jody Hedlund
Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award for fiction and Christy Award for historical romance, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.
Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).
When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.
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