Courtesy of The Best Reviews
Robert Maxwell, Laird of Clan Maxwell, longs for peace and the end to a bloody feud with the English Grahams. In order to achieve this, he decides to wed the oldest sister of the Graham family head. Robert enters into this agreement, much to the dismay of his entire clan, swearing to do whatever is necessary to make the alliance a happy one.
Caroline Graham is furious with her brother for signing her life away to the hated Maxwells. She has been convinced all her life no man would ever want her, the ugly sister, and she had planned to give herself to the Church as a nun. So she enters into this marriage determined to keep her icy demeanor (and her maidenhead) intact and show Robert just how unsuitable she was for a wife.
Robert is pleased when he meets Caroline and sets a course of seduction to convince her she is neither the ugly duckling she believes herself to be, nor the nun she desires to be. Caroline's walls are gradually beaten down by a very determined Robert, and she finds herself falling for him, all the while convinced he couldn't possibly love her.
An ancient legend stands in their way, however. There is a magical stone, taken from the scabbard of the legendary Excalibur, said to protect the possessor from harm. This stone is the basis for the nasty feud, and the cause of a deadly massacre 60 years previous. Problems escalate again upon the marriage of Robert and Caroline, as her greedy brother wants the stone for his own.
Can Caroline and Robert overcome their fears and plaguing doubts? Will their binding relationship put an end to the feud forever as legend proclaims?
Ms. Holling has woven an intricate tale of passion, greed, and vengeance. This book runs the gamut of emotions and desire. The characters are engaging, though it took this reviewer a while to warm up to Caroline. The plot is seamless and the legend of Excalibur is worked in effortlessly. The story is slow going for the first few chapters, but once it picks up, the reader will not be disappointed.
One will be eagerly waiting to see how the rest of the story pans out in successive books. This is a delightful read and comes highly recommended.