by Amanda Quick

January 1994
ISBN: 0-553-56153-7
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

The beautiful and headstrong Lady Claire knows that her home, the Island called Desire, must have a Lord! She must wed to protect her people and her isolated castle. Needless to say, Claire is self-sufficient and very bright, and tries a variety of plots and plans to avoid this unwanted marriage, but to no avail.

She is outsmarted by "the Hellhound", Sir Gareth of Wyckmere, a fearsome knight with a bold reputation who takes one look at Claire and knows she is his!! Amanda Quick has been a staple of my keeper shelves for many years, and this book has always been one of my favorites, even though it is set in medieval times, not the Regency, as are many of Ms. Quick’s other tales. The characters of Claire and Gareth are so effortlessly drawn that they become real people within a few pages of the beginning of this story. Claire is everything we’d like to be – intelligent, loyal, caring, brave, and she’s also scared to death at the thought of surrendering any part of herself to a husband.

Gareth, for his part, is weary. Weary of fighting, traveling, having no place to hang his helmet and stretch out his feet before his own fire. Claire can give him everything he wants – a home, a holding of his own to protect and work for, and most of all – passion! Their nuptial night has me holding my sides laughing every time I read it! Don’t miss this hilarious rural take on virginity – and the chickens that are sacrificed to its cause!

The secondary characters are excellent, the settings accurate and engrossing, and the plot carefully planned and smoothly integrated into the romance! But it is that romance that brings me back again and again to this book – Claire and Gareth light sparks off each other as their passions grow – and we readers get to enjoy these feelings vicariously, thanks to Ms. Quick’s skill. While I enjoy her more recent novels, I can’t help liking these early books much more – they overflowed with memorable heroes and heroines and challenged us with excellent plots and witty dialogue. If you don’t have any early books by Amanda Quick, put them on your shopping list – you won’t be disappointed.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Celia.

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