Bishop is commanded by the king to end the curse of Penwyth and marry the already 4 times widowed Merryn. Merryn resides in Pennwyth with a cast of elderly characters who do not want to see the curse ended as this will mean they have been conquered by someone they aren't going to like real well.
Splice in flashbacks in the form of visions as Bishop attempts to tame Merryn at the same time that he comes to terms with his own status as a wizard, the tale jumps around and frankly would have been hard to follow if I had really cared about these characters.
As usual, Coulter flashes back to previous characters, which is always fun. However, they have no real contribution to this tedious tome.
When all comes together and the bad guys get theirs, you come to the conclusion that CC had reached the quota for the number of pages she needed to write and tied it all together in an implausible ending even for writers of this genre. It was like she had to tie it all together and boom that is it - we can get married. (Hey I am not giving anything away here, you know from page one they are getting married, you just don't know how it will all come together.)
Hopefully the next will be much better. I wish I had skipped this one.
Set in the 13th century, this tells the story of Merryn, a young woman who is forced to marry four times and is widowed and still a maiden when Sir Bishop of Lythe arrives at castle Penwyth. (This plot line sounded real interesting to me!) Penwyth bears the brunt of an ancient curse, which declares that no man will ever take Penwyth, or it's heiress, by force. All four husbands died within hours of storming the castle and seizing Merryn. Is the curse real or is their foul play at work? Bishop is wise enough to take precautions and figures he'll be safe if he woos the lady first. He starts to settle into life at the castle, then he starts having dreams featuring an unknown wizard and witch and this is where I feel the novel itself starts falling apart - at least for me.
The dream-story/real time story - eventually overpowers the romance between Merryn and Bishop and at one point - I wasn't sure who the story was about as I believe there was an editing mistake that spoke of Bishop but the story seemed to be related to the dream couple. It was very convoluted and difficult to follow. The jumping around from past to present left me dizzy. Bottom line, I couldn't find myself getting emotionally involved with either couple and although there were a few quite humorous moments in the dialogs, I didn't find it to be an enjoyable and relaxing read - it was too much work to figure out who was who and where!
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