Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Castle Ladyslipper by Marilee Brothers

This review was posted first on The Romance Reviews

I always enjoy a strong hero and Marilee Brothers does not disappoint. In fact, she has created the perfect foil of characters and set them up in Northern London in the era of 1100. Garrick of Hawkwood is the King's man and sent to Castle Fairfield to marry D'Arcy's widow. This story is complete with danger, heroes, magic and mystery, lust and love. Twist that with secrecy and deceit, and you come up with a compelling story.

When Garrick shows up at the Castle, he finds very little in the way of soldiers, mostly farmers, one young boy and women. However, not just women––there are women of every age--cousins, aunts, children, sisters, women everywhere. With one exception, the woman he is to wed is not available, and a temperamental shrew is running the castle. She is the daughter of D'Arcy's first wife.

She is beautiful and willful and as stubborn a woman as he has ever encountered. Emma is the opposite of everything he has ever wanted in a woman and yet he is drawn to her.

He intimidates Emma, his presence unnerves her, and in order to control her fears, she is more hoydenish than usual. She is unkind and close to treasonous. She knows where her stepmother is located, but she lies to him. This is her place, and she does not intend to let anyone take it from her young stepbrother. Certainly not this rough but handsome stranger.

Emma is the oldest daughter and must carry the curse of the family, a locket that belongs to another. Until it is returned to its rightful owner, her family will never be free of the curse. All children born in her bloodline would be girls, and as the years have passed and the locket passed from one generation to the next, only girls are born. She currently has a younger brother but only because his mother was not of her family, and he is her half- brother.

Garrick is a hunk, handsome and bold, but he has grown up unhappy. Unloved by his father and sent to live with others away from his mother and brother, he finds that he has no trust in women. His mother did not stand up for him, and while he was away fighting for the King, his fiancé married his brother. Yet he must do as is commanded by the king.

Emma loves the castle and her people and will do anything to save them. Having been married previously to an abusive man, who later had their marriage annulled, she has made some powerful enemies. Garrick comes to her rescue, but when the king gets wind of the problem, he decides that Garrick must marry Emma instead.

The description of the times and the country are exceptional. The story is bold and tugs at your heart. The characters are fun and unique, quite interesting, fitting the story and the landscape well. The mystery surrounding the curse is fun and makes for an interesting situation. Marilee Brothers sets the stage for this fascinating story, and builds the tension and danger to keep you on the edge of your seat.

The heat between Garrick and Emma is passionate, full of temper and flair. The glances are tumultuous and lustful. The attraction is sensual and heartfelt, encouraged by those friends, family and even servants wanting nothing more than to see those they care about have what they can see and feel between them.

The story is fast paced, the temper and passions are bold, and the suspense is exciting. Ms. Brothers has written a story of historical proportions, and peopled it with characters you can care about. She has added a bit of magic and a curse making this more than just a love story. You will enjoy the passion and the humor.

Rating 5/5

This book was received as a free download through The Romance Reviews from the author. All opinions are my own based off my reading and understanding of the material.

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