Top positive review
Something a little different from Lindsey norm
on October 23, 2002
Milisant Crispin and Wulfric de Thorpe have been promised to each other since childhood. Their fathers are excellent friends, and are consolidating their friendship through the marriage of their eldest children. However, due to a mutually painful incident when they were children, neither Mili nor Wulf can stand the other. They have avoided each other ever since. It is now some years past the time when they should have been wed, and Wulf's father has insisted that Wulf claim his reluctant bride. Milisant is wild and different, disdainful of her being born female and the constraints it imposes on her. She and Wulf discover they still have nothing in common. She is wary of his size and power, convinced because of the pain she endured in their first (and only) meeting that Wulf will physically dominate and even harm her. It leads her to be stubborn, aggressive and argumentative, stiff and unbending to any request. Which does little to endear herself to Wulf.
Unknown to all, a third, unrelated party also does not want the marriage, and has conspired with non other than King John to ensure that it does not come about. To do that, he must arrange for Milisant's death, something that he does not hesitate to do...
I found the book very well researched, from the description of the clothing to the history of King's Richard and John, and the gossip of the realm. The court intrigue, although occupying only a few pages, was well done and set the plot in motion. I liked that the 'mystery' of the book had nothing to do with the central characters themselves, too. The threat, although known in full to the reader, comes out of the blue to the characters themselves. The story develops well, is peopled with enjoyable characters and sufficient humour. I found especially touching where Milisant finally realises that Wulf would do anything NOT to see her hurt. The development of feelings - positive and negative - between these two is completely believable. I also liked the approach taken with Mili, the feminist sub-plot which Lindsey has woven into the tale.
It is not a tale bursting with heat and passion (as Lindsey can do so well), rather more a discovery of feeling, and a fine tale firmly set in its period. Something a little different from my previous reading by this author, but also very enjoyable.