vrijdag 12 november 2010

Lynn Kurland – If I had you

The second book in the De Piaget series, published in 2000.

If I had you

Artane … a majestic keep on the edge of the sea.

Artane … the foster home of Anne of Fenwyck and the legacy of Robin de Piaget

Warring had kept Robin far from home for so long, Anne had all but given up hope he would ever return. But now Robin has returned to Artane – to the enchanting young woman who leaves him breathless with longing … and to a treachery that places them both in terrible danger. Then as the past threatens their future, he realizes that he wants nothing more than to have her – forever…

It took me awhile to finish this book, as it is a lot thicker than most historical romance books. Also, the characters use old(er) English, which makes it slower to read, but ads to the atmosphere. I really liked this book. The tale grabbed me from the start, and so did the hero and heroine.

After being humiliated in a fight as a young boy, Robin vows to become the best swordsman in the country, to be worthy of his stepfather’s admiration and his lady’s love. Not believing he hurts both of them by being away for so long.

Anne of Fenwyck also doesn’t believe herself worthy of his love. After all, why would a man as handsome as he wants a cripple for a wife? She smashed her leg in a horseriding accident as a kid, and now she walks with a limp. She hasn’t looked in the mirror for years, and totally does not believe herself pretty. But she is. She looks at her foster sister Amanda, and sees a feisty beauty so not like herself. Why would anyone look at her twice. Of course, al the teasing and hurting remarks she has heard all her life from her father and the pages around her, have not build her self conscience a bit.

Her father is trying to sell her and her inheritance to the first man who would want her. Until now, she has always managed to disparage her suitors, waiting and hoping for Robin to come back. And now he and his brother Nicholas are back at Artane. To tease his brother, and to make him finally declare himself, Nicholas pretends to court Anne himself. His brother can’t stand that, but he also is not capable of being nice to her. Everything he says and does, Anne takes as an insults, and she lashes out at him. They both suffer in silence, thinking the other cannot possibly love them. Each time they manage to come closer together, something happens that ruins everything again.

Then accidents are starting to befall Anne. Until she cannot deny the truth any longer, someone is trying to kill her. With their parents gone, Robin can see only one way to keep her safe, and this is keeping her in his parents chambers, under guard by his own trusted men, and with him in the room at night. Of course rumours abound, and when their parents come home unexpectedly early and find them in the room together, they are wed within the hour. The one thing they both want the most, but not in that way! But they are wed, they have to spend time together, but is the danger really over now?

I loved this book. Lynn Kurland has a very nice writing style, she makes the characters come alive, with both their good characteristics and their flaws. The short in between chapters where the story of the “bad people” is told, really ads to the book, and to the suspense.

Robin is a great warrior, and kind of a barbarian. He doesn’t care for courtly manners, but as he thinks Anne wants herself a gentle knight, he really tries to learn some skills to court her. And for some one who is not a poet, he sure tells her nice things. I really liked him.

There is humor in this book, and true love, but no love scenes. A nice change I find. I also like the secondary characters in Robin’s siblings, and hope to read more about them in the next book in this series. I am especially curious about Nicholas, and Amanda. Will Robin’s squire get her?

8 stars.

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