Friday, November 14, 2008

Winter Roses - Anita Mills

Arabella of Byrum's stunning beauty was her blessing and her curse. It stirred the brutal Elias of Woolford to make an irresistible offer for her hand, And it helped fuel the jealous rage that made Elias break their bond, leaving Arabella with an infant Elias refused to call his own.

Now another lord wanted her as wife. William of Blackleith could not rest until he had her. Yet he could not forget the slanderous rumors about her, in his arms, Arabella discovered the all-consuming power of fiery passion… even as she searched through a shadowy labyrinth of evil intrigue for the way to cleanse her name and win his love . . .

And to end this Anita Mill’s medieval week we have Winter Roses, the last instalment in the series. This book is the story of William, Giles’ bastard brother and his wife.

William is used to be no more than a servant when suddenly he finds himself lord of his own keep and with a wedding to a Lady arranged for him. He has high expectations and wants to please her but before the wedding he discovers that there have been rumours that she was unfaithful to her first husband.

Arabella was sold by her father to her first husband, a jealous old man who brutalized her and when she gave birth to a son with a lame leg denied his paternity and declared, before dying, that the child’s leg was the mark of his mother’s unfaithfulness. Unaware of the rumours being spread Arabella would like nothing better than never having to marry again, since she has to all her worry is that her future husband accepts her child so they won’t be separated.

Once they are married Arabella and William do their best to deal well with each other and have a good marriage. However Arabella’s son is for William the symbol of her betrayal of her wedding vows and he can’t warm up to the child, and to make matters worse an old enemy of William and his brother comes back planning a revenge.
William and Arabella were both very likeable characters. Both had had their share of misfortune and their lives but both want for their marriage to be a new start. For a while it seems William will never be able to accept Arabella’s son and I was quite happy when he finally started not only spending some time with him but trying to think of a solution for his problem.

Their story was a fitting end for an interesting series that features many of the customs, beliefs and way of life of the Middle Ages.

Grade: B+

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