It's taken quite a good historical to really grab my attention lately, and I eagerly anticipated the reading of "The Bride Hunt" because the story sounded so interesting. Classic damsel in distress meets tortured and honorable knight in shining armor...aaahhh, pure historical romantic bliss, if you ask me. I was so pleased to pick up a book that brought me back to my first love of reading - the true classic historical novel.
Anvrai d'Arques is a knight in service to King William in the year 1072. A loyal knight and servant to his country, he plods on in his duties despite not receiving rewards to justify all his many deeds. Still without land to call his own, he feels unjustified in seeking the hand of any maiden. Not only that, but he knows that is scarred visage will win him no favors in that arena either. At the tender age of eight, he earned horrible scars on his face as well as the loss of an eye, resulting in the revulsion of every woman he's ever encountered. Never expecting any woman not being paid to show him any notice, he struggles to accept the fact that he might never marry and have a family. Certainly he knows never to expect the attentions of the beautiful and noble Lady Isabel Louvet. Recently returned to her family, along with her younger sister Kathryn, from an abby, she is to be bethrothed that very night to a worthy man of her choosing. Unbenownst to her family or the meager defenses around them, Scotsmen lie in wait to attack. when the unspeakable occurs, and Isabel and Kathryn are abducted, Anvrai persues her in hopes of prividing rescue. When he too is captured, both enbark on a journey frought with danger, survival of the fittest and ultimately love.
Anvrai and Isabel were the perfect pair. Her gentle upbringing was the perfect match for his tragic and rough past. Anvrai's reasoning's for keeping his distance from her were reasonable and heartbreaking at the same time. Isabel was a strong woman in a time of typically subserviant women, but not so overpowering as to emasculate Anvrai. She simply took what their misadventures handed them with courage and fortitude, clearly marking her as the perfect mate to Anvrai's hardened attitude from his war experiences.
The details that author Maguire provides of Medieval England and Scotland were fascinating and clearly well thought out. There's enough romance as well as adventure packed into this read to insure enjoyment for all fans of the historical genre. Bravo and two exuberant thumbs up for this wonderfully classic Medieval tale. Without giving too much away, I hope, I simply cannot wait to find out what happens the Isabel's sister, Kathryn. Let's all cross our fingers that she gets her own story soon!