Title: By Arrangement
Author: Madeline Hunter
Published: 2000, Dell
Category: Historical Romance
I've never read Madeline Hunter before, but she's been talked about a lot lately because her newest book, The Rules of Seduction, is getting very good reviews. I heard several people mention that they thought Rules is her best work since her early medieval series. And I thought, ooh a good medieval! Haven't read one of those in a long time. So here we are.
Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn is in luuurve with a noble knight, so she is devastated when King Edward (she is a ward of the crown) tells her she is to marry David de Abyndon, a merchant who is plenty wealthy but (oh horror!) a commoner. Christiana goes to David, tells him that she is in love with another, and asks him to release her from the engagement. David suspects that her paramour is a little more interested in getting her into the sack than in actually following through with a wedding, so he tells her that he won't give up the betrothal, but that if the man returns, then he will release her. Meanwhile, he sets out to show Christiana that the puppy love she felt for Sir Knight is nothing compared to the Real Thing.
Oh, I'm feeling lazy tonight. A bunch of other stuff happens--there's a little political subplot and a mistaken identity subplot. Rather typical romance novel stuff, but I enjoyed it very much. It didn't light my life on fire, but it was good. The setting was sadly a little nondescript, but it worked and the characters were lovely.
Like I say, I'm feeling lazy. Suffice it to say that I will be reading more Madeline Hunter. The edition I got is actually a two-in-one--it has By Possession in it too, so I'll be reading that soon. I do like the value of two-in-ones, definitely more bang for your buck, but they're pretty unwieldy. Kind of hard to read (and hard to carry around). And as I was reading the first novel, I was continually annoyed that I couldn't see how much of the book I still had left to go. Silly, I know, but I kept flipping forward to see how much longer before the resolution. I ended up putting a Post-it note in between the two books. :P