Friday, December 19, 2008

Charming the Prince by Teresa Medeiros

Book Description:
Dear Reader,

My enemies know me as Lord Bannor the Bold, Pride of the English and Terror of the French. Never in my life have I backed down from any challenge or betrayed so much as a hint of fear - until the war ended and I found myself a reluctant papa to a dozen unruly children.

Realizing that I couldn't lop their little heads off or throw them in the dungeon, I sent my steward out to find them a mother and me a bride - an attractive, meek, maternal creature too plain to tempt me to get her with child. You can imagine my horror when he returned with Lady Willow of Bedlington, a spirited beauty who made me think of nothing else!

With her cloud of dark curls and the sparkle of passion in her eyes, Willow was everything I'd sworn to resist. I never dreamed she would join forces with those mischievous imps of mine to teach this cynical warrior just how sweet surrender can be.

Bannor the Bold,
Lord of Elsinore

This was a cute romance, but I thought it would be funnier based on the description. It is the first book I've read by this author.

Willow, the heroine grows up to be a Cinderella drudge-type in her family, after her father marries a bitchy woman with six children. Her father doesn't die, but he just doesn't do anything to stop having her wait hand and foot on her step-siblings, and fend off the advances of her lecherous step-brother Stefan. Finally, Willow has her chance to flee her unhappy home when she has the offer of a lord (sight unseen) who wants to wed her, with his steward in his stead to take his place during the actual ceremony. You see, our hero, Bannor, is virtually locked up in his castle, afraid to venture out and risk running in to his 12 unruly children!

Of course, once Willow arrives, the children turn on her, but she winds up winning them over, and they all gang up on Bannor. One of the plotlines that bugged me was his reasoning. It barely made sense. He already has too many kids to handle, but he needs someone in his castle (like a wife) who can take care of them and keep then in line. He wanted his steward to pick out a homely bride, someone who he would not be tempted to bed - he wants no more children! But, Willow turns out to be beautiful. To save her pride, he sics his children on her, hoping they'll convince her that she doesn't want to remain married to him. Well, it all backfires and I never thought it made sense anyway.

But, despite everything, they do fall in love, and there is a sort of sad and poignant tie in at the end when Willow is kidnapped and when Bannor recalls his childhood as a bastard and how he watched his mother freeze to death.

This is a medieval set in England. I prefer the ones in Scotland, I'm actually probably one of the few people out there that like reading Scottish dialects! This romance had some humorous moments, but nothing like you'd expect based on the book description on the back of it. Willow was sort of dull and uninteresting and Bannor just came across as dense sometimes, plus I found all the kids annoying (as they were meant to be, but I still didn't like them!) as well as Willow's obnoxious sister and Bannor's eldest son (though there is a redeeming moment for both of them). There were a few plotlines that I didn't really go along with, they just didn't sit right with me: Bannor's friend, Sir Hollis, winds up falling for the town whore (Netta) and marries her with Bannor's approval (I found that hard to swallow.) Or that he's raising 4 of her children as his own. It just didn't sit right with me. It seems like the whole area believes if they leave a baby at the door of his castle, he'll take it in and raise it as his own. Willow might know it's not his, but the rest of the world will believe they're his bastards. Also, Willow also doesn't seem to mind (or Bannor) that her 13 year old step-sister is canoodling with his 13 year old son. These little "family" issues kind of got lost and glossed over to me. A loose end too, who is his evil step-brother? He was mentioned more than once, and I felt for sure he was going to come in to the storyline at one point, but never did. This was a bit fuzzy.

But in any event, the book wasn't half bad, and I'll read more from this author, her Scottish medievals in particular.


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