Dell, Jan 2001, 6.50, 371 pp.
In 1183 Ceinn-beithe, Jacqueline decides to take the vows of a nun, disappointing her mother who does not feel the calling is right for her beautiful daughter. Along the so-called safe road, four men, none soldiers, accompany Jacqueline. However, neither her nor her parents reckoned with Angus wanting vengeance on her father for betraying his family. Angus abducts Jacqueline as a pawn in the long-term clan feud.
As Jacqueline becomes acquainted with her kidnapper, she realizes that his obsession comes from the real murder of his kin. However, she believes her stepfather is innocent of any wrongdoing, but will do whatever she can to help Angus regain his birthright as she now loves him.
THE BEAUTY is a typical medieval romance except for the depth Claire Delacroix imbues in her lead characters. The duel of words between Jacqueline and Angus seems real and is THE BEAUTY of the tale. The secondary cast and the feel for the twelfth century augments the tension between the prime duo. In her fifth “BrideQuest” novel (see PRINCESS, DAMSEL, HEIRESS, AND COUNTESS), Clair Delacroix keeps her story fresh as if this was the opening gambut in the series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner