Monday, October 5, 2015

New Review: Heather Graham’s A KING’S PLEASURE – A Very Worthy Medieval set in the time of King Edward III

A worthy read from an icon of historical romance. Graham’s stories are well researched and well written and immediately draw me in. This one begins in 1336 (there is a prologue set in 1357—a great tavern scene), and covers several years as we travel from England to France and Scotland. It tells the story of Lady Danielle D'Aville, a countess who is loyal to the French King Philip (and later, King Jean) but has become the ward of King Edward III of England since the death of her mother.

As a young girl of 14, King Edward betrothed Danielle to his favored knight, Adrien MacLachlan, a proud Scot and “one of the most famed” of Edward’s knights with his own lands in the Highlands. Danielle hates the arrogant knight because he was responsible for the strategy that allowed King Edward to take down her home of Aville.

Adrien has lost his own love to the plague, a woman he met at King Edward's court and intended to marry. Though he really doesn't like the strong-willed young French girl, Danielle, he will obey his king and become betrothed to her, particularly since the marriage will gain him her estates in England and France. Danielle is willing to become betrothed to her enemy, the knight she detests, only because the alternative is an old nobleman in Sweden and Adrien promises her freedom to continue reigning at Aville alone for years. 

Adrien keeps his bargain and young Danielle does not see him for 5 years while he is off winning accolades for his jousting abilities at tournaments across the Continent and whoring with many women. When he is ordered by King Edward to move forward with the wedding, Adrien returns to claim Aville. The reluctant bride he only remembers as a troublesome girl has grown into a stunningly beautiful woman who is attracting men all over Europe. He decides he will wed her after all even though Danielle still considers him an arrogant enemy. She goes through with the wedding only because he promises to give her time before they share a marriage bed.

The plot thickens as England and France are about to go to war and a French nobleman who loves Danielle is bitter that he has lost her. Adrien isn’t exactly the attentive lover either. The morning after he consummates the marriage, he left her to play archery with the men at Aville and he is uncaring and rude and at times cruel to the high spirited, intelligent and courageous young woman. 

Original cover
As a last thought, you might want to skip the prologue or read it after as it gave away much. All in all, it is a worthy, exciting read and Graham’s writing, as always, is very well done.

The original book was published under Graham’s other pen name of Shannon Drake.
Buy on Amazon.

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