Leisure, Nov 2001, 5.99, 393 pp.
In 1155, when Lady Isabel Dornei's father dies she travels to the nearby abbey knowing she will be physically safe until her betrothed arrives for her. The heiress is not quite as sure of the haven when it comes to her heart because her beloved Richard, brother to her fiancÚ, seeks ablution while studying to be a monk at the abbey. Word soon arrives that her betrothed died so the honorable Richard marries Isabel to keep her safe.
Though Isabel and Richard love one another, both feel guilty that their relationship formed with the death of his sibling, especially knowing deep down inside that they prayed for a miracle to bring them together. Realizing that they obtained what they wished for at a high cost, both must find a way to overcome their deep regrets over the death of Richard's brother or remain doomed to a marriage of unhappiness in which love turns hollow.
Medieval romance readers who enjoy strong lead characters and deep historical setting will find THE MARRIAGE BED quite appealing though the story line ambles slowly forward. Isabel and Richard make for an engaging plot because they both feel love and the torture of guilt. More of a twelfth century character study, Claudia Dain provides her audience with a change of pace historical relationship drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner