Series: Brunson Clan (Book 2)
TO MARRY HIM WILL BE TO BETRAY HER FAMILY
Bessie, the selfless sister of the powerful but stubborn Brunson clan,
has sacrificed herself for her family's honor and is at the mercy of the
court of King James. Ill-suited to court life, she must confront their
mortal enemy, Lord Thomas Carwell, dressed in nothing but borrowed
finery and pride.
Underneath the relentless gaze of her captor, she's enticed not only by
him but also by the opulence of a world far removed from her own. When
the furious king demands her brother's head, Carwell is the only one to
whom she can turn. But she must pay the ultimate price for his
Good book with plenty of intrigue. Thomas has been sent by the king to bring Bessie's brother John to court as hostage for the clan's behavior. John had made the king angry (see Return of the Border Warrior) but refuses to betray his own honor. To save her brother, Bessie volunteers to go in his place. They in turn make Thomas responsible for her safety. Once there Bessie has to learn to navigate a way of life far outside anything she has experienced before.
I liked Bessie. In the first book she was mostly in the background so I didn't get much of a feel for her. In this one the family stubbornness is very evident in her. She is determined to be the one to go. Once she is there she realizes that nothing is as it appears on the surface and finds herself depending on Thomas to show her the way. And though she had sworn to find proof of his treachery against her family what she found instead was a growing passion. I liked her combination of naivete and confidence. She didn't understand the things that went on at court but she was well aware of who she was and she wasn't going to be any less than what she expected of herself. I also liked the way that she decided to fight for Thomas and herself while trying to stay true to her roots.
Thomas was a little harder to know. Because of his position as Warden he had to be able to deal with Scots and English. He had grown up learning the art of compromise and how to read shifting loyalties and emotions. There are some things he has done in the service of the king that haven't turned out the way they were intended and that creates even more problems. As he tries to do his job and still protect the Brunsons he finds out that the only way he can protect Bessie is to marry her. He had sworn never to marry again after the disaster of his first marriage, but felt he had no choice. He was also trying to fight his attraction and growing feelings for her and losing that battle. When things come to a head Thomas has to make a choice between his king and his bride.
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