HIS LADY BRIDE by Shelley BradleyZebra Books, August 2000
Aric Neville has lost faith in his knightly vows, his ambition to reclaim his family's vast estates, and most of all, in his King--Richard III. Rather than continue to live a life he does not believe in, he retreats to a small cottage where he can survive in solitude. The last thing he needs is a wife, especially one who will sell herself to rule large estates.
Gwenyth de Auburd was raised to rule a castle but her parents' death left her in the hands of an uncle who sees her only as competition for his own daughters' chances. When a drought dries the land, the peasants call out for help against the wizard who has caused the problems. Gwenyth's uncle resolves to kill two birds with one stone. To humor the wizard, he'll marry his niece to him--or offer her as a human sacrifice to him. Despite the attraction she feels toward Aric whom the peasants have mistaken for a wizard, Gwenyth cannot give up her dreams. When Henry Tudor invades, Richard III calls all of his armies together and will not let Aric deny him. Gwenyth is overjoyed to find herself in the environment she has hoped for for so long--but something has gone out of Aric.
Shelley Bradley has created a darkly troubled hero at war with himself and with those he sees who are willing to sacrifice their honor and so many lives for greed. In Gwenyth, Bradley has created a woman who is Aric's match, if only she can overcome her own issues and realize that material things without love are meaningless. The setting, at the end of the English War of the Roses, is one of the most fascinating in British history and Bradley takes full advantage of this era, without allowing her historical research to dominate the relationship between the protagonists.
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