An early book by author Margaret Moore who writes enjoyable historical novels. This one is a good read and the politics of the time well-described. An Englishman’s home wasn’t his castle unless he was well-favoured by the King in the 11th century, which is when this story takes place.
Etienne is a strong man. He has the rank of Baron because he served the King well. He was given the estate of Gabriella Frechette’s late father as a token of the King’s pleasure. Gabriella was quickly told by the baron to leave or become his servant. She elected to be his servant.
Gabriella wanted to hate this man who took her home and humiliated her by making her a servant, but her heart wouldn’t let her.
The author doesn’t make her hero immediately likeable, but he does grow on the reader as his background unfolds. He seems to believe that even showing pain is a sign of weakness that would give his enemies a chance to take his place. Given the setting of the book, undoubtedly, this was a way of life, but Etienne seemed to carry it to the extreme. He certainly trusted no one, neither his mistress nor his closest knights. Gabriella has her work cut out for her to get this hero in her arms.
The book gave me a taste of this popular author's work and I will certainly buy more of her books. It is a short read, tightly plotted so no words are wasted.
Secondary characters, like the Baron’s mistress, make a nice addition to the story. She is a woman who rises from poverty and uses her beauty to become a mistress, but it didn’t make her a truly happy woman. I found I really liked her character.
The Baron's Quest is an enjoyable story, worth a read.