Avon, Jul 2004, 5.99, 384 pp.
In 1075 England, Widow Lady Jenova asks her best friend, King William's confident Lord Henry to visit her at remote Gunlinghorn. William drops everything to travel the four days in wintry conditions to see Jenova to learn what she needs from him. There, she shocks him when she tells him that she is considering marriage after mourning the loss of her spouse for the last two years. Her chosen one is neighbor Alfric Baldessare, who would bow to her wishes and wants to know what he thinks especially since her potential groom's father demands that he be named estate guardian in the event of his son's death. Henry knows that the elder Baldessare hates him over a regal land decision so he has doubts about the match.
While riding, a sudden snowstorm sends Jenova and Henry seeking shelter. When they find refuge, they hold each other tight for some warmth, but soon make love to the shock of them both. Jenova realizes that she is in love again though has doubts after her first husband's betrayal and Henry hides his feelings. However, the elder Baldessare plays “matchmaker” when he abducts her five-year-old son to force her hand.
KISSING THE BRIDE is an engaging Conqueror romance starring delightful protagonists and wonderful secondary players to include a romance between the villain's daughter and Henry's top aide. The villain is so crazy that he seems like a caricature, but then again his actions force the lead couple to confess their inner feelings. Sara Bennett provides a fine historical that fans of the William era will treasure.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner