Leisure, Oct 2002, 5.99, 371 pp.
In 1155 England, King Henry II provides a gift of land accompanied by a wife to Rowland the Dark of Aquitaine though the recipient wants neither an estate nor a spouse. The bride, Nicolaa of Cheneteberie accepts her fate as she has been widowed four times before and realizes that she might as well cooperate because she has no rights or even a nay say to these arranged marriages.
Though he preferred to remain single, Rowland knows no one lives to reject a regal present so he wants to make the marriage work. He goes out of his way to earn Nicolaa's trust. He begins his campaign to gain her love when he first concludes that she sees him as a passing nuisance because he plans to stay by her side if he can overcome the nightmares of his past.
Medieval romance fans will enjoy THE WILLING WIFE due to the interesting lead characters whose basic understanding of survival makes it possible for the reader to absorb quite a sense of the era. The story line engages the audience because of the attitudes of Nicolaa and Rowland, but also on the other hand makes for insignificant disputes between them. With this novel and books like THE MARRIAGE BED, readers will deign this author as one of the sub-genre's aristocracy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner