Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Lily and The Leopard - Susan Wiggs

France in 1414 was a country at war, overrun within by marauding knights and besieged from without by an ambitious English king.

England in 1414 was ruled by King Henry V, a driven monarch who was determined to regain his French lands, even if it meant war.

Lianna of France was mistress of a great castle in Normandy. Rand of England was King Henry's most fearless and trusted warrior. They were fated to meet in a sunny forest glade, just as their countries were fated to meet on the battlefield of Agincourt. Their turbulent yet triumphant love story symbolized the clash of two mighty nations. With them, the lily and the leopard could be united, finally, under one banner.

I have greatly enjoyed Susan Wigg's 19th century trilogy and so I couldn't resist trying this medieval by her and see if it was any good. I was pleasantly surprised with the time frame and setting - the eve of the battle of Agincourt - and also the theme of guns and gunpowder.

The hero is sent by king Henry of England to wed a french heiress and hold her castle and lands for the english. Determined to thwart their plans Lianna, the heroine, marries another man. To secure her lands she gives in to the attraction for a lowly knight, as her husband doesn't want to make her pregnant, hoping to have an heir soon. But that lowly knight is in truth her enmglish enemy and she soon finds herself a widow and forced to marry him.

I really liked the hero, Rand, a true gentleman he is not afraid to declare his love for Lianna and before he knows she is his bride is often plagued by guilt for loving a woman while pledged to another. Once he discovers the truth he is ever faithfull to his feelings and does everything in his power to keep Lianna happy.

Lianna was a very different character, she feels betrayed by Rand and can't accept the fact that he is english and pledged to the english king. I was a bit impatient with her then because she had fallen in love with him and now seemed to forget he was still the same man. No that every difference should have miraculously disappeared but they could have at least talked about them. And she stays like that for most of the book. Even after they declare a truce and are able to be happy she keeps thinking she will make him choose between her and his king. I was extremely annoyed when further in the story she makes some decisions under threat without telling him thus leading to disatrous situations.

Other than the heroine the rest was really good and Rand was a perfect hero really, patient, understanding, loving... perfect really!

Grade: B-

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