Ms. Dain has again created two very interesting and troubled characters in this story. Nicolaa has been married four times only to be left when her husbands found heiresses who had larger estates and more money. King Henry has now "awarded" her number five. She has become resentful of the husbands, but she has also learned to deal with men by being willing to do their bidding until they leave. Nicolaa assumes number five, Rowland, will be the same. Rowland comes to the marriage as unwilling as Nicholaa. He is carrying, in his heart, a deep love for his first wife who was killed helping him during an attack. Nicolaa does not believe a man can ever love anyone but himself, and Rowland will never love anyone but his lost wife.
The story is a simple telling of their lives together, trying to survive what neither wanted but must endure.
I loved this book, the story, the characters, and the writing. Ms. Dain shows a thorough knowledge of the Medieval times. Her descrptions of life in the tower and "goings-on" makes it easy to visualize what's happening.
You may want to read Ms. Dain's "The Holding" and "The Marriage Bed" before reading this book, though it certainly is not necessary to read either to enjoy this one. I recommend all three books very highly.