Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Prize by Julie Garwood

Book Description:
In the resplendence of William the Conqueror's London court, the lovely Saxon captive, Nicholaa was forced to choose a husband from the assembled Norman nobles. She chose Royce, a baron warrior whose fierce demeanor could not conceal his chivalrous and tender heart. Resourceful, rebellious and utterly naive, Nicholaa vowed to bend Royce to her will, despite the whirlwind of feelings he aroused in her. Ferocious in battle, seasoned in passion, Royce was surprised by the depth of his emotion whenever he caressed his charming bride.

In a climate of utmost treachery, where Saxons still intrigued against their Norman invaders, Royce and Nicholaa revelled in their precious new love...a fervent bond soon to be disrupted by the call of blood, kin and country!

Ah, another Julie Garwood medieval, her Scottish ones are my favorites, but this one was pretty good too, even though it was about Englishmen instead of Scots - how I miss those Scottish brrs! Alpha hero, Baron Royce is the greatest, smartest, strongest and tallest Norman warrior. But, he is felled by the lovely Nicholaa's slingshot, whose Saxon castle he has set out to capture. She manages to hit him squarely in the forehead leaving him momentarily dazed and woozy. A metaphor for what happens to him over the next several months. Then she winds up outmanoeuvring him and escapes just as his men take the castle. But, before long, Royce realizes the deception and tricks her himself, hauling her back to King William in London. She doesn't make it easy for him. For one thing, he's highly attracted to her (and vice versa) and the other thing is she's always trying to escape and she isn't afraid of him. She is determined to be difficult and she has a stubborn streak a mile wide.

Royce has never met anyone like her. He's amused by her tirades and also admires her cunning and soft heart. She is a worthy adversary and before long he has determined he'll have her. But, she again fells him by turning the tables and choosing him for herself instead! They immediately marry before the King of England in an impromptu public ceremony. But, as soon as they get married all these accidents happen to her that delay the consummation of their marriage. Oh, there are some hot kisses and promises of more, but it does become a bit tedious. Once Nicholaa's burned hands heal, she gets hit with an arrow! How long must her long suffering warrior husband wait? He doesn't wait forever, and once the wait is over, their bed is the one place when they can both be themselves and have a passionate marriage.

Most of the book's theme centered on the fact that Royce wouldn't let Nicholaa be herself. Medieval women were expected to have no say in their lives, whatever the men wanted was the law. Royce wants her to be what he thinks she should be. Over time, he learns that he shouldn't try to change what he loves most about her. Royce succeeds in getting Nicholaa to change for him (at least on the surface) and she behaves like the good and dutiful wifey he expects. She yes's him to death, but the sparkle is gone from her eyes - he realizes he's gotten rid of the exact same things he finds most endearing about her. Where did that fiery hoyden go to? Nicholaa also comes to realize that the arrogance and conceit she perceives in Royce really isn't all that bad. She realizes he's a kind and caring man who is gentle with babies and loves her despite his outwardly gruff exterior. She loves him for who he is inside, overlooking a serious scar he has on his face and a real dominance syndrome, which he manages to get under control. He has your typical alpha male tendencies that his love manages to soften - he becomes a kinder and gentler English warrior for his lady. I enjoyed reading about Royce's ruminations on love and his own insecurities. He never believed he'd find a woman who truly loved him for fear of his ugly scar.

I really enjoyed this book and got swept up in the world of medieval England. As usual the settings and descriptions are first rate. I found her characters endearing and I even liked the smaller side characters and their little stories too, like her brother Justin's transformation and an older knight who plays chess with Nicholaa and is beginning to feel his age. One line I found funny, a maidservant, Alice is almost depicted as an old hag at the ripe old age of 30! Ha!

I recommend it.



VampFanGirl said...

Great Review Julie. I read 'The Prize' years ago and I remember enjoying it as well. It was during a time where I was very new to romance and Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood were all the rage. :)

Oh, I see you have 'Intimate Enemies' by Shana Abe in your queue. I LOVED that novel. Abe is just a gifted author. Have you read any of her Drakon series?


Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

VFG - Yes, I plan on reading "Intimate Enemies" eventually, it's pretty far down on my list, but I've heard good things about the author, though I've never read anything by her yet. Maybe I'll move her up! I'll have to look into what the Drakon series is all about. Thanks!

VampFanGirl said...

Oh the Drakon series is amazing. They're paranormal historicals by Shana Abe. Beings that can turn from human, smoke, to dragon and they're also members of the ton with the alpha leader being an earl. They're soooo good. Definitely check them out Julie.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Oooh - that sounds really good! I'll definitely check them out. I'm not normally into paranormals and fantasy, but that series sounds really interesting! Between you and Amy C. you're gonna turn me into a fantasy lover in no time!

Amy C said...

I've only read one Julie Garwood book. I should read some more. I can't remember which of hers I did read but I liked it.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Amy, which book was it that your read? Her Scottish historicals are great, I'm surprised you haven't discovered them yet - the Scottish lassie that you are! :) I read The Bride first, so that it my ultimate favorite of hers. Her heroines are quirky and funny, often clutzy and her heroes are always alpha heroes that are instantly smitten with these clutzy and quirky - often English -beauties.

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