Youngest daughter of Rivenloch, Ysenda has always been suborned by her beautiful and very spoilt sister, Cathalin: caretaker of her imperfectly perfect elder brother Caimbeul, and the sense of reason who sees her father, the Laird Gillie, as a hard, unforgiving and detestable being. The Yule celebrations are afoot, and celebrations have brought the clan together. Suddenly, strangers appear, and Ysenda is bound and determined to discover just who they are.
Sir Noёl de Ware is an honorable man, and after months of being fobbed off after a treaty arrangement between Fance and Scotland’s Kings, mandating he marry the “most beautiful lass’ in Scotland, heir to her family’s estate and clan, he’s come to claim his bride. Ysenda is the one who caught his eye: beautiful, intriguing and unafraid to confront him, he’s smitten.
With Ysenda’s father clearly willing to risk the King’s wrath and war by claiming that Ysenda, not the beauteous Cathalin, is the bride he seeks. Threatening Caimbeul’s life with his dagger, Ysenda takes the safe option: agreeing if Noёl will postpone the consummation for a day. She feels certain she can talk sense into her father, and Cathalin will be a more than acceptable substitute.
Things never quite go according to plan, and Ysenda finds herself guilt ridden and more than a bit in love with Noёl: he’s honorable, kind, appreciates her wit and seems to find her attractive. I loved their conversations and Noёl’s honest and open attempts to get to know her. He truly did epitomize a “knight” in all things he acted with honor, wracked with guilt when he felt her sadness, determined to aid Caimbeul and boost his confidence even risking Ysenda’s wrath and displeasure as she had coddled and protected Caimbeul since her mother’s death. Laird Gillie behaves as expected throughout, and with a huge secret that dwarfs even the fact that Ysenda is not, in fact, his intended bride, the story takes a leap into happy ever after. I’m now finding that I want to know more of these two, see the growth of Caimbeul that will highlight his strengths and will to overcome his disabilities, and most importantly, return to this world that Campbell has so beautifully described.
I received an eBook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
(reviewed 17 days after purchase)