by Allie Bates

April 2004
ISBN: 0-9717290-6-9
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Richard Llewellyn, the illegitimate cousin of King James, is on his way to the Highlands. There is talk of treason that he must investigate. He disguises himself in order to learn more from the peasants. He fully expects to take care of the matter quickly. What he isnít expecting is to find along the way a comely peasant girl. Richard wonders can the barefoot princess be real? He watches her as she bathes, realizing at once that he must have her. When Richard discovers her age he believes she will be acceptable to the idea of a quick tossing of her skirts. Besides, his experience with women has proven them to be players of false modesty.

Branwyn hasnít kept herself pure all this time just to give herself to a knave like Llewellyn. His persistence alarmed and appalled her. Keeping her virtue hadnít been an especially difficult job. Most peasants in the village are wary of her. They depend on her as their healer, but that is all. The villagers are suspicious of Branwynís gift of sight. Now, here is this strange man unceasingly pursuing her. As if that werenít enough for her to deal with, her dear friend has gone missing.

Brian Gordon is the son of Laird Gordon. While some believe there is more to the relationship between Branwyn and the Lairdís son, in truth, theirs is only a friendship. The nefarious Lady of McDermitt hates Branwyn. When Richard asks to stay in the cottage belonging to Branwyn, the Lady arranges for a marriage between the two. All of this just to keep her away from her stepson, Brian. Richard agrees only because he knows that Scottish law gives him a way out once his mission is complete.

As a long time fan of the medieval romance, I have a tendency to be discriminating. I require more, as a reader, out of this subgenre than any other. In which case, I am thrilled to report that I have found a new favorite. Allie Bates has created a winning combination of historical detail and a satisfactory plot line. Hearty and illustrative, the story will take the reader through an entire range of emotion. Earthchild is, without a doubt, a keeper. I will be looking for more from the talented Allie Bates.

Reviewed in October 2004 by Rho.

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