A new trilogy begins in The Beauty Bride by award winning medieval author, Claire Delacroix. If you can get through the tediousness of the first couple of chapters, (and it will be an effort not to stop and toss the book aside) you will be rewarded with a story that does begin to pick up steam, and culminates with an exciting finish. It includes a valiant hero who tells wondrous Welsh folktales, (I got more of a kick out of the tales then the actual story), a heroine who is a cross between a beauty queen and an action super hero, (think Xena), a loyal destrier and canine companions, and a oddball family of misfits that includes the youngest sister who can see and communicate with a fairy.
The story unfolds in 1420 Scotland with the introduction of the Lammergeier family of Kinfairlie whose young Laird, Alexander is in a quandary as to how to get his stubborn oldest sister to wed. Madeline called the “Jewel” of Kinfairlie for her great beauty has repeatedly refused offers since her betrothed, James, was reported killed. Madeline cannot fathom marrying anyone else, and if she doesn’t then Alexander will never have enough money from the bride price Madeline would have brought to restore his keep and feed and take care of the rest of his siblings. In addition, if Madeline as the oldest of his sisters doesn’t wed, then the rest of them will refuse too, and never leave! With no other option in site, Alexander decides to hold an auction for Madeline’s hand at his uncle Tynan’s keep. It is there that Madeline is sold for a hefty price to a notorious Welsh outlaw, Rhys Fitzhenry.
Born a bastard, Rhys Fitzhenry will do anything to ensure that he will legally inherit his family’s holding in Wales, Caerwyn. With a price on his head for treason against the king of England, Rhys has put his life in jeopardy to seek out the child of a distant cousin who will enable him to take Caerwyn as his own. Believing Madeline to be that child, Rhys takes part in the auction, and is delighted to win her hand. Soon it is Madeline’s heart as well that Rhys wants to win. As they begin their perilous journey to Rhys’ home, Rhys enchants Madeline with his Welsh folklore stories, and a love begins to grow between the arrogant warrior and the headstrong Lady.