The Overlord’s Bride by Margaret Moore
(Harl. Historical #559, $4.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-373-29159-0
***
When her cousin Genevieve marries another (The Welshman’s Bride), Elizabeth Perronet’s uncle removes her from the convent where she’s spent half her life in order to marry her to her cousin’s intended bridegroom Raymond D’Estienne, Lord Kirkheathe. Her uncle strongly desires the connection to the rich and powerful nobleman. In fact, Kirkheathe has little wealth and needs her dowry to rebuild his castle and its defenses.

Elizabeth, however, does not know that Kirkheathe needs her as much as she needs him. Desperate to remain free of the convent and its cruel abbess, she implores Kirkheathe to consent to the marriage. He quickly agrees and does not ask for any increase in the dowry in spite of the switch in brides.

This is Kirkheathe’s second marriage. His first wife Allicia tried to kill him by choking him to death. In the struggle to save his life, she was accidentally killed, but her attempt left him with a scarred throat and a hoarse, rasping voice. Kirkheathe is now aloof and stern but not uncaring. He is soon charmed by Elizabeth’s candor.

Elizabeth grows in confidence and determination. As she and Kirkheathe soon discover there is much more to their marriage of convenience than they had anticipated, Allicia’s brother Sir Fane Montross tries to undermine Kirkheathe’s position in court and destroy him.

This is a rather brief synopsis because there isn’t much to this story. In fact, my 3 Heart rating is an average - 4 Hearts for appealing characters, 2 Hearts for the weak plot. I regret that the author didn’t produce a meatier plot because she has created two very likeable characters who deserve a story worthy of them.

Elizabeth is an especially charming character. It’s only her strength of will that has kept her from buckling under the punishing conditions at the convent. She’ll do nearly anything to keep from being forced to return, including promising to be dutiful, quiet, and obedient. None of these qualities are consistent with her personality, and in no time at all the real Elizabeth comes to the fore.

Kirkheathe has reason to be wary of females, but he’s fortunately not one of those one-woman-betrayed-me-so-all-women-are-untrustworthy heroes. He keeps reminding himself that his first wife proved faithless, but in spite of his resolve to proceed with caution, he quickly recognizes Elizabeth’s worth. Elizabeth’s exile in the convent has left her with a poor self-image. A less sympathetic hero might have allowed her to maintain her misimpression, but Kirkheathe takes affirmative steps to repair the damage inflicted through those years.

The Overlord’s Bride is part of the author’s Warrior Series, but it stands well on its own and readers need not be concerned if they haven’t read any of the earlier books.

I wish I could recommend this book because the main characters are appealing, but the slim plot keeps it from rising above acceptable territory. If, however, you are looking for something light and enjoy medieval-era historical romances, you might want to check it out.

--Lesley Dunlap


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