Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bride of the Tower by Sharon Schulze

William Bowman is a messenger for Lord Rannulf, tricked into entering the dark forest at night and waylaid by bandits, who injure him and steal his money. But before they can take everything, they are run off by a group of guardsmen headed by a woman, Lady Julianna D'Arcy. She takes the wounded warrior back to her keep, Tuck's Tower, and binds his wounds and watches over him as he recovers, going without sleep herself to see that he will not fall victim to fever from his wounds.

Though she has sworn to keep her home and people safe, she finds herself attracted to the wounded, sleeping warrior, and when he awakes, he finds himself attracted to the strong and lovely woman. She is attracted to him, but is afraid her attraction will lead to her leading her people wrongly, and to her having the keep taken out of her stewardship. She is also troubled by one of her neighbors, a lord named Richard Belleville, who wishes to wrest the keep from her, and perhaps wed her in the bargain if he cannot gain the keep in any other way.

As William recovers from the attack, he and the Lady Julianna grow closer. William feels he must escape from the Tower to deliver the messages he holds to his Lord, but Julianna knows he came from the direction of Sir Richard Belleville's estate and doesn't know if she can trust him, or if he is working for the man who is causing her so much trouble. William finds that Lady Julianna inspires devotion in him, even more so when he discovers that Tuck's tower is more than named after the Friar who attended Robin Hood and Lady Marian: Julianna is their daughter, adopted by the man who Marian wed later in life, and raised as their child.

But when Julianna finally decides she trusts William and lets him deliver the letters to his lord, will he be able to return in time to turn aside an attack on her keep by the treacherous Belleville?

This was a very nice romance novel. The characters had a definite attraction to each other that was more than just words on a page. It was a joy to read, but rather like bubblegum in that the flavor on the tongue doesn't last very long. A nice beach read, but there are hundreds, if not thousands, just like it out there.

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