Maiden Bride

Maiden Bride

3.5 81
by Linda Needham
     
 

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Widowed, Lady Eleanor arrives at the castle of the husband she never met, ruthless warlord Nicholas Bayard. As she explores, a huge shadow overtakes her in the darkness of the tower: an intruder who commands her to leave his castle. Eleanor informs him that she is the wife of the late Lord Nicholas. Shocked to realize that the bride he'd thought had died in the…  See more details below

Overview

Widowed, Lady Eleanor arrives at the castle of the husband she never met, ruthless warlord Nicholas Bayard. As she explores, a huge shadow overtakes her in the darkness of the tower: an intruder who commands her to leave his castle. Eleanor informs him that she is the wife of the late Lord Nicholas. Shocked to realize that the bride he'd thought had died in the Plague is not only alive, but beautiful and bold, Nicholas hides his identity. But Eleanor is a temptation he cannot resist, and when she learns his true identity, she shows him that love is the greatest miracle of all.Widowed, Lady Eleanor arrives at the castle of the husband she never met, ruthless warlord Nicholas Bayard. As she explores, a huge shadow overtakes her in the darkness of the tower: an intruder who commands her to leave his castle. Eleanor informs him that she is the wife of the late Lord Nicholas. Shocked to realize that the bride he'd thought had died in the Plague is not only alive, but beautiful and bold, Nicholas hides his identity. But Eleanor is a temptation he cannot resist, and when she learns his true identity, she shows him that love is the greatest miracle of all.Widowed, Lady Eleanor arrives at the castle of the husband she never met, ruthless warlord Nicholas Bayard. As she explores, a huge shadow overtakes her in the darkness of the tower: an intruder who commands her to leave his castle. Eleanor informs him that she is the wife of the late Lord Nicholas. Shocked to realize that the bride he'd thought had died in the Plague is not only alive, but beautiful and bold, Nicholas hides his identity. But Eleanor is a temptation he cannot resist, and when she learns his true identity, she shows him that love is the greatest miracle of all.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380796366
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/01/2000
Series:
Avon Romantic Treasure Series
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.87(h) x 0.96(d)

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The Northwest Coast of England, May 1351

"Pardon my sayin' so, Lady Eleanor, but this late husband of yours left you the sorriest damned castle I've ever set eyes upon."

"Aye, Dickon' Faulkhurst is a mite frayed about the ramparts—but it's our home now." Eleanor Bayard muzzled the curses she wanted to rain down upon William Bayard's blighted, unlamented soul.

At last, home. And hope, and three of the dearest companions in the world to care, for. This was-not the time for letting regrets and, recriminations gain a foothold—not when she'd come so far.

"I like it, Nellamore."

Eleanor laughed and lifted little Pippa into, her arms, bird bones and feathers, a breeze captured inside an eider pillow. "I do too, Pippa. Very much."

"It needs buckets, of paint, my lady." Lisabet battled the sea wind for balance atop the stubby wall of the overgrown kitchen garden..

"Needs a hell of a lot more'n paint, 'Bet." Dickon snorted and cast his young sister a skeptical frown. "A mason, far a start."

Aye, and a carpenter and a smith and so many other things that Eleanor didn't have and didn't know where she would find anytime soon.

May your eternity be blazing hot and sticky with gnats, William Bayard.

No, she would not callow her very wicked, very dead husband to ruin this fine moment.

Above all else, my loves, Faulkhurst needs the four of us. Desperately." And we need Fulkhurst.

"An' the ghost, Nellamore, don't forget." Pippa's gamin little face needed scrubbing, despite last eve's streamside wash-up and another that afternoon.

"Faulkhurst needs a ghost?" Eleanor nosed a kissagainst the gilded curls at Pippa's temple.

"It has one already. A huge grey one." Pippa's dark eyes grew round and earnest. "I saw him myself. Over there, walking on the sky."

She pointed toward the roiling storm, cloud sand the grey tower that rose, a full four stories out of the seaward wall. It was the highest point, in all of Faulkhurst, overwhelming the stocky keep and the tiny, deserted, tumbled-down village, and the seaswept cliffs beyond.

A tower wheeling with gulls. "Sweet love, did your ghost by any chance have wings?"

Pippa shook her head, gravelly, casting Eleanor a glance that belied her six years. "It's not a bird, Nellamore. A spirit. Like my papa's and my mama's, too."

God rest them both whoever they might have been.

"If it is a ghost, Pippa, we'll put him to work fixing the roof of the bakehouse first thing in the morning."

"He'll like that, he will."

"As for now, 'tis. high time we made ourselves at home."

Dickon let free a battle cry and then took off to Ward the keep with Lisabet fast on his heels.

But for all their eagerness, Eleanor found them waiting for her and Pippa just inside the dim portico, staring into the bleak vastness of the great hall.

"Do you smell it; Lady Eleanor?" Lisabet captured Eleanor's hand and held it tightly, trembling. "A hospital."

Unmistakably. That cold, lonely smell of suffering and sorrow: the aromatic pinch of charred juniper and thyme—futile remedies against the pestilence. Too familiar and terrifying.

"Aye, it must have been, Lisabeth. Once"

Where were you then, husband, when your people we're perishing in their agonies? Hiding your fortress across the sea?

But William Bayard kept silent, as always: her blackhearted, proxy-wed, sight-unseenhusband, who'd at least had the good timing to die of his sins—or of the plague itself—before she'd had to meet him face-to-face.

Before their marriage could begin in truth.

"I'm hungry." Dickson's stomach howled, and Pippa giggled.

"So's the squirrel in your tummy, Dickon."

"I hope it likes dandelion pottage," Eleanorsaid, Sweeping them all into the hall. "Lisabet,Dickon, we need firewood. A bonfire's worth to light the night and tell all the ghosts that we are here."

A full pantry in the kitchen, or even a small chest of grain, proved too much to ask from the departed Lord of Faulkhurst. Their wilted carrots and dried peas would have to do once again.

But at least they'd be cooked in her very own home tonight—not by the side of the road, or under a bridge.

She and Pippa sang their favorite melodies to keep away the shadows while they assembled the kitchen trestle in front of the hearth in the great hall. They added benches, and then a roaring fire as Lisabeth and Dickon rushed in and out with armloads of firewood, and tales of rusted locks.

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Meet the Author

Linda Needham credits her bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts, support from her fellow writers, and her hero-husband for her publishing achievements. Winning the RWA's Golden Heart as an unpublished author and joining Avon Books two months later are among the highlights of her Fabulous Forties. Seven books, two stageplays, three musical revues and the USA Today and Waldenbooks bestseller lists later, Linda has entered her Fantastic Fifties with brazenness, exaltation, and an RWA Top Ten Favorite Book of the Year award!

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Maiden Bride 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 81 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1351 England, Lady Eleanor Bayard learns she is a widow even though she never met her spouse, having married him by proxy. Eleanor thinks her husband died in Calais. Needing a place to live, Eleanor travels to the Faulkhurst Castle, former home of her late spouse.

Lord Nicholas Bayard feels guilt over never meeting his wife, let alone sharing a wedding night with her. He believes died due to the plague. He is wandering all over his rundown castle when Eleanor arrives. She thinks he is an unemployed knight and offers the angst-laden Nicholas a job as her steward. He is shocked by her positive, uplifting attitude, but hides his identity from her because he feels he has no time for a wife in his present circumstances. However, as Nicholas and Eleanor fall in love, he wonders what will happen to his heart when she learns his deception.

Medieval romance readers will long relish Linda Needham¿s touching tale, THE MAIDEN BRIDE. The story line is fast-paced and filled with the nuances of mid fourteenth century English life. The lead couple is a delightful compassionate pair whose droll repartees will give much pleasure to sub-genre fans.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got it for free. Glad I didn't pay for it. It made a flight cross country go faster.
SeriahBlack More than 1 year ago
This book satisfied three distinct "what if" curiosities of mine: 1) What if you married someone you never met before? 2) What if your husband, whom you barely knew, died overseas and left you alone? 3) What if you never consummated your marriage--is it still considered legitimate and valid? Main Storyline: A woman has an arranged marriage to a notorious wartime commander, but he never comes to get her and bring her home with him. Years after he has been proclaimed dead, the woman takes her three travelmates and her notions of how anyone can change if given the opportunity, and journeys to her dead husband's abandoned run-down castle to start a sort of utopian society. The man who actually LIVES in said castle, however, far from agrees. The mysterious man turns out to be the woman's husband, whom she never met. Wanting desperately to get to know his unknown wife, who he finds himself helplessly possessive of, he decides to look after her as she pursues her crazy ideals--at least until he finishes his last important project and leaves the world forever. This is a story of redemption from a life of black sins, loose-ended promises and answered prayers, hypocrisy and the nature of ambition. You want both characters to win, but the one who needs to win is too broken to step forward, and in order for either one to win they must depend upon the other. The morality theme is one of undeserved second chances, and the underlying reasons why mistakes are made in the first place. SLIGHT SPOILER: To be honest, I was a bit disappointed when they finally DID consummate the marriage. Some of the phrases used just seemed...cheesy. And after waiting the entire book length to see what would change in their relationship after they finally had sex...I discovered that I wouldn't find out. I mean, it's implied that they'll live "happily ever after," but after a story about happy NEVER afters, it felt a bit...counterproductive.
kronan1 More than 1 year ago
Different..................................................................................  This writer really puts a refreshing spin on historical romance novels.  She really fills in the background of  the era she is writing about.  It gives you a better feel for the characters she  is writing about.   This is the second book I've read by LN.  My Wicked Earl being the other-- and have the same small criticism on both. The ending is a little rushed.  Plus since the last chapter in both  takes place while they are having sex the dialogue is choppy an sporadic.  Hard to have a meaningful conversation when your having the best orgasm of your life.   Could have used a good epilogue.  These were men and women that were movers and shakers.  Would have been nice to have a small glimpse at their future happily ever after.   But it is a small criticism.  Overall a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my first book by this author. I loved the premise of the story and it could have been great but, very little romance. The book is about 400 pages although it says 211, the page number does not change each time. The female was kind and helpful. The male was an alpha male, but this book is not for readers that want lots of romance.
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AMAZING LOVE STORY WITH SOME FUNNY PARTS.
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While the story was good, the characters were not. Sobbing one minute and ready to jump eachother the next, arguing heately one moment and gazing lovingly at each other the next, the moodswings made an otherwise good story awful. The heroine was stubborn to the point where even when good common sense was presented she refused to even acknowledge it and somehow everyone end up in love with her even as I wanted to throttle her myself and they get a happy ending with virtually no resistance. Frustrating and unsatisfying to say the least.
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