Gavin Elliot is in the Tower of London in 1835 accused of murder. Gavin, a Scottish American, became wealthy trading in the East Indies. One year earlier, on an island in the East Indies, Gavin saw Alexandra Warren being sold at a slave auction.
Alex, an English woman, was returning to England with her daughter after the death of her husband when her ship was attacked by pirates. She and her daughter, Katie, were separated and Alex was enslaved. Gavin tries to buy Alex in order to free her, but the sultan of the island sees Gavin's interest in the beautiful Alex and decides to use her to get Gavin to agree to work for him as part of his political plotting. Gavin must risk his life in an ancient Lion Game if he wants to barter for Alex. Through courage and wit, Gavin wins Alex's freedom but not before being forced to have sexual intercourse with the traumatized Alex. Out of honor, Gavin marries Alex, they find Katie and return to England.
Once in London, Gavin tries to regain his family's status in society and must also help Alex overcome the trauma of her enslavement before he can pursue the love he feels for his new wife. However, he has enemies plotting against him which result in a charge of murder.
This report prepared by L. Watson
Ballantine, May 2002, 22.95
In 1834, American sea merchant Gavin Elliot sets sail from The East Indies for London after making his fortune in trade. He plans to reestablish his family name previously disgraced among the aristocracy.
On his journey to England, Gavin stops at the island of Maduri where Sultan Kasan surprisingly orders a personal visit from the sea captain. While there, Gavin learns that English widow Alexandra Warren is held in bondage after her ship was captured by pirates. Alexandra's eight-year-old daughter is either dead or incarcerated elsewhere. Though he knows not to intercede, the honorable Gavin challenges Kasan to play Lion's Game in which his loss means two decades of servitude, but a victory frees Alexandra. Of course, Gavin has never played before while his opponent is a pro in this deadly encounter.
THE BARTERED BRIDE is an exciting, action-packed historical romance that never slows down until the tale is completed. The story line is loaded with a taste of an exotic 1830's environment that provides a fresh outlook to the audience. The lead couple is a courageous duo though the odds of Gavin defeating Kasan in the Lion's Game seems greater than Douglas-Tyson and would have been kept off Vegas and White's books. Still Mary Jo Putney continues to provide a vast panorama of an intriguing bygone era by placing her romances in unique locals.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner