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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Castle Ladyslipper by Marilee Brothers

Castle Ladyslipper by Marilee Brothers
Publisher: Awe-Struck Publishing
Genre: Historical, paranormal
Length: Full Length (239 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Lily

When a chauvinistic knight lands in a castle full of women, somebody has to change!

Soldier of fortune, Garrick of Hawkwood, is ill prepared for the women of Castle Ladyslipper, especially its hostile mistress, Emma d'Arcy. Garrick is haunted by the spirit of Emma’s great-grandmother, Rose, who brought on the curse plaguing Emma and her female relatives.

Though clearly at odds, Emma and Garrick cannot deny the sultry heat rising between them. Liberally laced with humor, Castle Ladyslipper resonates with a timeless theme: love can flourish even when sown in the rocky soil of misunderstanding.

Can you imagine how a knight and his men from the court of Henry II feel when they ride up to Castle Ladyslipper (or Fairfield) to find that it is inhabited in the main by beautiful, single women?

Sir Garrick of Hawkwood is the epitome of warrior-knight perfection, so how can any warm-blooded female resist him? This mission will be easy-peasy without a doubt. He’s been sent by King Henry to ask for Lady Helene’s hand in marriage. Except she’s not there. In her place is her stepdaughter, daughter of the late Matthew D’Arcy Master of Fairfield. Complicated? Not really but it is for Garrick who now faces a haughty, feisty, stubborn but beautiful Mistress of Fairfield who informs him that her stepmother is in France when she is in fact just two miles down the road in a convent. Emma is not a woman easily intimidated, rather she does the intimidating as Garrick soon finds out.

There are only so many vile curses a Knight can throw about. And Emma? She knows the King will not permit Fairfield to be run by a woman even though it is thriving – she could be charged with treason. Seems like there’s only one solution. But Emma won’t hear of it, she’s no ninny – she can stand up to the toughest of the King’s men (even if he has just seen her in her bath).

And just why are there so many females about? The family has been cursed by Emma’s great-great grandmother which means that the women can only bear female children.

So begins a battle of wits with Emma digging her toes in and Garrick throwing his heroic bod about and neither giving an inch, despite their reluctant attraction to each other. Added to the conflict is an evil neighbor, intent on gaining Fairfield land to add to his own failing property. Plots to bring the downfall of Fairfield, of Emma, of Garrick abound and there’s a twist and turn always just around the corner. Even the King puts in a hasty appearance to add spice to this already full tale.

The characters are exceptionally well-rounded, believable and likable (especially Garrick!), albeit a little predictable. Ms. Brothers has done her research well and is talented at bringing scenes to life. The cold, chilling landscape matched the damp castle and life of that period. The sexual tension lent a boost to a sometimes dragging plot and once or twice I noted a phrase that I can’t believe would’ve been spoken at during that time period like, “Oh quit being so touchy”.

This was Ms. Brothers’s first novel which has been revamped and released. She’s a natural story-teller whose writing flows easily, even at the most nail-biting moments. I’d like to read her later novels where her talents must have developed even further.

I enjoyed this compelling tale and following the journey that the main characters had to endure to come out the other side more complete and fulfilled. For readers who enjoy a tumultuous romance, a deep attraction to both the hero and heroine so that a happy ever after finish is anticipated, but not exactly certain, then this book is for you. If you like reading about this time period, Castle Ladyslipper will not disappoint at all.