The Rebel Heiress and the Knight by Melissa Oliver
In the year King John was forced by the Rebel Barons to sign the Magna Carta, much of England was suffering. Eleanor of Tallany must give lip service to loyalty - but secretly, she is Le Renard, The Fox, a female Robin Hood defying the king to take care of her people. When she’s forced to marry Hugh de Villiers, a knight loyal to John, she knows things are about to go terribly wrong.
Hugh isn’t blind to his sovereign’s faults, but he also doesn’t have a whole lot of choice in the matter. He’s surprised to find he likes Eleanor, despite her defiant attitude and determination to remain aloof from him, but she’s obviously hiding something, and it’s something that could jeopardise everything they both hold dear.
There’s a built-in conflict here which basically means at least one of the parties has to either compromise their principles or change their position, and I very much liked the fact that it wasn’t Eleanor who was forced to give ground. However, I struggle to buy into a romance between two people when one of them is hiding so much from the other. I’m not sure how you can love a person when you haven’t got a clue who they really are until so late in the story.
Historically, this is very sound, and I liked both of the two main characters, but I think the conflict between them dragged on too long when there was plenty of external conflict they could have been facing together, and as a consequence I didn’t quite buy into their romance. I’ll give it four stars, but it’s a very solid debut and I look forward to reading more by this author.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.