Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jill Barnett: Wonderful

Wonderful: C
Only mildly wonderful.

After too many years on the battlefield, Merrick de Beaucourt is looking forward to a simple life of peace and quiet with a docile wife at his side. But when he finally fetches his bride-to-be from a secluded English convent, he finds he needs more than his knight’s spurs to bring order to his life.

When she was betrothed at fifteen to the legendary English knight she had never met, Lady Clio of Camrose believed that love was something magical. But her youthful hopes faded as she languished in a convent for six long years, never hearing a word from Merrick.

Weary of war, Lord Merrick finds little peace guarding the wild Welsh borders, and even less with the wife whose trust he destroyed. But as Lady Clio comes to understand the dark knight she so blindly wed, she sees a chance to make her dreams come true. Amid the enchanted mists that envelop Camrose Castle, they will battle together to discover a place where all things are possible, even a love that is rare and wonderful.

Other than the premise of the story being intriguing (a pissed off bride because her fiancĂ© was scum and he didn’t marry her after the promised four years), the book was just a nice read – highly forgettable. In fact, it was so forgettable that a couple days after I had read it, I had to go back and skim the story in order to write this review (I had forgotten the details of the story – the middle and ending…)

Merrick rushes to the convent to fetch his beloved bride and realizes that she’s gone. She’s pissed as heck and she, being the spunky, sassy heroine, rushes to Camrose Castle all by herself. Merrick is pissed, but he can’t say much to Clio since she’s even more pissed.

So there they are, wife-and-husband-to-be, both peeved.

Merrick realizes that Clio is a beautiful, lively woman and Clio realizes Merrick is handsome and cold – from all the years of fighting. Without intending to, Merrick finds himself attracted to Clio and feels himself slowly falling in love with her. When she gets shot with the arrow by the rebel Welshmen, he feels anger as he’s never felt before.

Strangely enough, they don’t wed until 3/4 of the book has passed. They live in the same castle, but decide not to wed…and I’m not sure why. (I probably forgot the explanation that Barnett gives). Maybe they want to get to know each other. Maybe he wants to stay a bachelor a little while longer.

While they wait out their wedding, Clio makes her ale, something she’s been doing since she was at the convent, and strives to make the Heather Ale, a type of ale that has *secret* powers. Merrick, of course, doesn’t like Clio making ale and tries to stop her and all that jazz.

Eventually they wed, no surprise there, and the king – who highly favors Merrick – bring with him a crudload of treasures and wealth; Merrick no longer has to work in order to receive his pay! Yay. So they wed, finally do the bedroom hanky-panky. I’ll give Clio this much – I really like the way she “gives” herself up. It was really touching and different from the usual.

Then rebel Welshmen attack while Merrick is away. They get inside the castle, Merrick returns, is horrified, tries to breach it. While saving Clio, a piece of the moat falls on him and the unthinkable happens! (Read book to find out, but don’t lose sleep over trying to find out what happens to Merrick. It’s a romance).

Wonderful is nice, but nothing incredibly special.

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