Title: Midnight Marriage
Author: Jean Fullerton
Published in April 2007 by Triskelion Publishing
Other Books by Jean: Cutlasses and Caresses
Henry II is King of England, a reign fraught with rebellion as nobles fight for and against him. One such nobleman, Sir Hugh de Noirville continues the rebellion to dethrone the King by taking Lady Keira Liskard hostage; sister to his wife and daughter to the King’s most trusted ally. He hides her in a convent to use later as a bargaining tool, or better yet, taking her as wife should his present one die birthing their first child.
A heroic knight under Henry II, Sir Philip d’Apremont painstakingly rose from illegitimate child of a nobleman to a respected and admired soldier. His tenacity and bravery affords his mother a proper home, even if not a place in affluent society. The King insists that he marry the Earl of Liskard’s daughter, who Noirvile has abducted. Once that mission successful he is to regain the Liskard’s Cornwall lands, where Philip will rule as an Earl with his new wife. Finally, he is to capture and bring the treasonous Hugh Noirville before the King. Securing the lands, capturing a traitor and rescuing a damsel Philip can handle…marriage offers an entirely different type of challenge.
Since her mother’s death, Keira develops a close relationship with her father. He indulges her with knowledge more befitting a man. Growing up in the Cornwall, she gains the trust and respect from the Cornish people under her father’s protection. Her efficient management of food stores, livestock and finances ensures the castle’s continued upkeep and readiness for war. Skills a husband should appreciate in his wife, so Keira believes. At present, she works the convent’s infirmary, under the patient tutelage of Sister Hilda. Keira avoids the Reverend Mother, Noirville’s sister. That nasty woman wants Keira to take “the vows”, destroying her dreams of becoming a wife and mother.
Ms. Fullerton’s novel, Midnight Marriage is a sweet romance, complete with endearing marital intimacies, while other moments shows the struggles common to a newly married couple; its a time of merging strengths to opposing weaknesses. Rescuing Keira from the convent, Philip demands the Father to wed them. Once the nuptials complete they ride off toward Lostwitheil castle, Keira’s home. Their marriage seems pleasant and sexually stimulating. Yet the suspense begins when a drugged Philip sleeps through the wedding night, postponing their consummation. Then when reviewing the castle accounts he discovers that Noirville has depleted their food stores, in which the house steward claims he allowed under threat. Philip’s suspicions rise when his close friend and comrade, Roger is gravely wounded by an arrow clearly intended for him.
However, Keira and Philip’s wrestling for dominance rules the story. Not only capable of keeping the household in order, she commands his army and the people outside of the castle. Raising her father’s and Philip’s flags atop the castle, Keira does not seek Philip’s permission. His discipline is swift and firm, identifying her roles within the castle while warning her away from his management of the men and village. However, he underestimates his wife’s knowledge and command of protecting her people and home. Philip ignores her reminders about owed land rents and a tax, not collecting them jeopardizes the revenue that pays the troops. Announcing her understanding that their marriage is political and not for love, Keira emotionally withdrawals from Philip, confusing him as to what to do. In the past, he just walks away from troublesome women. At present, his seductive wiles do not breach her stubbornness. Clearly, compromise could solve their dilemma but neither is ready to relinquish control, not even a little bit.
With the Lothwitheil men ready for battle, Philip departs to overthrow Noirville’s rebellion. His suspicions of treachery prove founded as he and his armies are lead right into Hugh’s hands with devastating results.
A humorous romance, Ms. Fullerton entertains with enchanting characters that support its natural twelfth century plot. Keira and Philip fortify the easygoing story with their stark personalities, and sexy, although frequent, bedroom activities. As one, they prove to their enemies, and to the people they vow to protect, to be formidable allies…or foes. Separately Keira softens Philip’s battle worn demeanor, whereas he gentles her independent fiery nature. A delightful read with strong women and brave men, makes this Triskelion Publishing novel, Midnight Marriage a wonderful addition to anyone’s historical romance collection. By the same publishing house is Ms. Fullerton’s previous novel, Cutlasses and Caresses, whose blurb sounds as appealing as her second book.
A Dedicated Reader,