I've always loved Deborah Simmons' stories and this one is no exception. The Maiden Bride is another exceptional piece of writing.
Nicholas de Laci is a wonderful man. At least, that's what everyone (from his sister to the old house servant) is telling Gillian. To Gillian, Nicholas is surly and mean - and she isn't getting the wrong impression! From the very beginning, Nicholas is mean and full of hate; all he can think of is getting revenge on the man who had left him for dead in the Crusades. While it was the very dead Baron Hexham who had wronged him, Nicholas' revenge has been turned toward Gillian who has the unfortunate circumstance of being Hexham's niece.
Gillian, on the other hand, isn't the obedient and meek girl that Nicholas expected considering she had been raised in a convent. When Nicholas is ordered by the King to marry Gillian, he looks forward to exacting the revenge that he had lived for since recovering from his injuries. Nicholas doesn't have a plan, but Gillian sure makes it easy for him to be mad at her! When Nicholas finally came up with a mean, cold-hearted retribution, it's so ridiculous (as it was meant to be!) that one wonders how he is going to pull it off.
Ms. Simmons very much keeps to the dialogue and description of the medieval era hence the story is convincing as well as enjoyable from beginning to end. It is pure talent indeed when she can make Nicholas both hateful and lovable; and Gillian, with all her fiery temper, makes him the perfect match. Nicholas and Gillian are fun to be with and even through the worst of times with treachery and death rearing its ugly head, Ms. Simmons makes it easy to empathize and cheer the couple on. With all that action, not to mention very hot love scenes, how can I not recommend this book?