The feud between Merclif and Cardel has gone on for years. King Henry is tired of it and demands that Alaric, Baron Merclif, be wedded to Cardel's daughter Helena. Alaric doesn't see how he can bring an enemies daughter into his house but he really doesn't have a choice. Then Helena over hears her father discussing how they plan to overtake Merclif on their wedding night. Kill Alraric and herself. Force Alaric's mother (Margaret) to marry him and take over Merclif. Helena knows she must tell Alaric but doesn't know if she can trust him. If he is able to stop the plan will he dissolve the marriage and send her back to Cardel? Will Helena ever overcome her fear and shame that her father inflicted on her? How can any man see past her hideous scars and truly love her for her?
This was a beautiful tale told with a great deal of depth. Alaric was a wonderfully flawed hero. One who was strong both in body and character. He served his people well and they loved him with their full devotion. His biggest flaw was that he relied on his own strength and not the Lords. He had a need to control everything around him. Helena was a wonderful heroine. She was of a quiet spirit but had a strong inner strength. She was abused by her father and brothers. In fact her father cut her face which left a terrible scar. She knew that if her heavenly father was like her earthly father then surely He didn't love her.
I loved the tale of these two main characters although the secondary characters were wonderful too. Alaric's mother, Margaret, was a very wise woman. One of great spiritual strength. Lord Robert Wyham, emissary for the King is also a very wise man who knows the Lord. He is immediately drawn to Margaret. There is also Damien Langston who used to work for Cardel and because of his love for Helena has protected her when he could. The romantic tension is wonderful. There was a lot of spiritual truths wrapped up in a story that you cannot put down.
I highly recommend this book. If you like Julie Lessman or DeAnna Julie Dodson you will love this story. I believe this is the authors first novel but I hope it will not be her last.
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