Graelam de Moreton has heard about the warrior woman, Chandra de Avenell and has been trying to arrange a marriage with her for 2 years. Her father has been making excuses not to arrange the marriage for that time. He has selected for her Jerval de Vernon.
Chandra has been the apple of her father's eye. He has taught everything he knows about being a warrior and did not think at all about her learning how to direct servants or run a castle. Her mother hated her as much as her father loved her and she abused Chandra until Chandra was finally old enough and big enough to fight back. Chandra never told her father of the mistreatment. Chandra has decided never to marry or to let a man run her life. She feels that anything that has to do with being a woman lessens her as a person.
de Moreton decides to take the de Avenell keep, Croyton, by force and kidnap Chandra and force her to marry him. The keep is easy to take as her father and most of his warriors have left. Chandra, he finds is not an easy woman to kidnap. He wants to force her to marry him and is unable to convince her even after rapeing her ladies maid in front of her. It is not until her mother and younger brother willingly leave their hidey-hole and give her to him that he has the leverage he needs to begin to force her. During the pre wedding feast there are several new faces among the servants and the priest who is to marry them is unknown to Chandra also. The priest turns out to be Jerval. They take Croyton from de Moreton.
Jerval and Chandra spend the next few weeks getting to know each other and he falls in love with her. She finds him a worthy opponet and playmate to test her skills against. He eventually asks for her hand and she refuses, feeling that she has lost a close friends. It is her ladies maid, Mary, who finally convinces her that her life was not meant to be at Croyton after her younger brother becomes master and she agrees to marry Jerval. After the marriage they go to his parents keep. She fights him every chance she get as she refuses to give up her warrior's ways. She wants him in bed but each time they come together she feels she is becoming less and less. She even risks her life to escape the keep to join him tracking down Scottish raiders and is captured and has to be rescued by Jerval. jerval finally gives up on her and when Prince Edward and Princess Elenore visit he agrees to go to the Holy Land and fight there and announces that he is taking Chandra back to her father on the way.
Princess Elenore argues with Jerval until he finally take Chandra with them to the Holy Land. This gives them the opportunity to grow as a couple and become closer. Chandra cannot resist who she is however and goes into battle a couple of times and saves some of the knights she is fighting including Jerval. Her bravery and beauty become known in the Holy Land and she is kidnapped for a Saracen leader and taken to his tent in the middle of the desert by an oasis. de Moreton sees what is happening and goes to rescue her. Separately and yet together they stall the Saracen leader until Jerval and his men find them and aid in their escape.
While the main plot of this book is romance and Jerval and Chandra learning that together they are stronger together than individually the subplots are also interesting. Why does Chandra's mother hate her so much? Graelem de Moreton in the beginning is a ruthless, evil man willing to do anything to get what he wants. What happens that he changes his mind about Chandra and becomes allies with Jerval. What happens that makes Chandra realize that her station in life as a wife and woman is not less important that Jerval's role as a knight and husband. All these subplots come together to make a wonderful and thought provoking story.
This report prepared by plnorth