by Johanna Lindsey

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380793334
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/04/2000
Series: Shefford Series , #2
Edition description: Reissue
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 227,683
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

One of the world's most successful authors of historical romance, every one of Johanna Lindsey's previous novels has been a national bestseller, and several of her titles have reached the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Ms. Lindsey lives in New England with her family.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

England, 1214

Walter de Roghton sat in the antechamber outside the king's chamber, where he had been left to wait. He was still hopeful that he was to have the audience that he had been promised, but as minutes turned to hours and still he was not summoned, it was doubtful that it would be tonight. Other lords had gathered, other hopefuls like himself who wanted something of King John. Walter was the only one among them who didn't appear nervous. He was; he just managed to conceal it much better than the others.

And there was much to be nervous about. John Plantagenet was one of the most hated kings in all of Christendom, one of the most treacherous and deceitful. A king who thought nothing of hanging innocent children who'd been held as hostages when he needed to set an example for his enemies. As an example, it had failed. As a heinous act, it had served to turn John's barons even more against him, in fear and disgust.

This was a king who twice tried to wrest the crown from his own brother, Richard Lionheart, and had twice been forgiven that treason due to their mother's intervention. And once the crown was his upon Richard's death, he'd had the only other claimant to it, his young nephew Arthur, killed, and Arthur's sister Eleanor imprisoned for more than half her life.

Some had pitied John as the youngest of King Henry's four sons. There had been nothing left of Henry's kingdom to give to John after it had been divided among his older brothers. Thus the name that had long followed him of John Lackland. But there was little to pity about the man who had become king. There was nothing to pity about the manwho had put his country under excommunication for many years because of his war with the church, a ban that had only just been lifted. No, there was much to hate about this king, and much to fear.

Walter was making himself more nervous thinking about John's many misdeeds, though he still managed to appear calm to any who might glance his way. For the thousandth time he wondered, was it worth it? And what if his proposed plan went awry?

Walter could, in truth, live out the rest of his days without ever coming under the king's notice. He was a minor baron, after all, one who had no need. to frequent the king's court. But there was the rub. He was of little import . . . yet he would have it otherwise.

It should have been otherwise years ago, when he had discovered the perfect heiress and diligently courted her, only to have her stolen from him by a lord with a greater title. The woman who should have been his wife, Lady Anne of Lydshire, would have brought him great wealth and power with her dower lands. Instead she had been given to Guy de Thorpe, the Earl of Shefford, more than doubling de Thorpe's holdings, thereby making his one of the more powerful families in England.

The wife Walter did finally end up with had been a bad choice all around, as it turned out, which only added salt to the wound of his resentment. The property she had brought him had been acceptable at the time, but was unfortunately located in La Marche, and so lost when John lost most of his French holdings. Walter could have retained the land if he'd been willing to swear allegiance to the French king, but then he would have lost his keep in England. And his property in England was the larger.

Additionally, his wife had given him no sons, and only one daughter. Useless, that woman was. His daughter, Claire, however, he finally had a use for, now she'd reached the marriageable age of ten and two.

Thus Walter's visit to King John was twofold, revenge for that long-ago slight, when he had been overlooked as a suitor for Anne, and to finally wrest her property and more from Shefford by marrying Claire to Shefford's only son and heir.

It was a brilliant plan and the timing for it was ideal. Rumors were flying that John was soon going to make another attempt to seize the Angevin lands he had lost so long ago. And Walter had a carrot to dangle in front of John—if only he could lay the plan before him.

Finally the door to John's chamber opened and Chester, one of the few earls whom John still trusted completely, ushered Walter in. He made haste to kneel before the king, was impatiently waved to his feet.

The chamber was not empty as Walter had hoped. John's wife Isabelle was there, with one of her ladies-in-waiting. Walter had never seen the queen this close before, and spent several bemused moments in awe when he did glance at her. Verily, the rumors of her were indeed true. If she was not the most beautiful woman In the world, she was surely the most beautiful in England.

John was more than twice her age—he had married Isabelle when she was just ten and two. And although that was an age to marry, most nobles who took brides that young chose to wait a few years before they actually consummated the marriages. Not so John, for Isabelle had been ripe for her age, and too beautiful to resist for a man whose wenching had been notorious prior to this marriage.

Not as tall as his brother Richard, but still handsome at two score and six, John was the dark one of the family, with black hair now liberally laced with gray, and his father's green eyes and somewhat stocky build.

John smiled indulgently when he noted the direction of Walter's gaze and his incredulity, a reaction he was . . .

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Joining 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 127 reviews.
bopeep1965 More than 1 year ago
This one just reaches in and grabs you. It is her typical style of writing where everyone is beautiful and always fall in love....eventually. But this one was the exception for me, lots of action and secrets and never boring. Highly recommend.
Historical_Romance_Junkie More than 1 year ago
Joining is a bit different from the historical regency novels were accustomed to when we see Johanna Lindsey on the cover. While I will always be a bit partial to anything other than the husband hunting innocents and rouge taming spell binders I've come to know and love, Joining is a refreshing change of pace. Taking place during the middle ages, the story was compelling enough to keep you hooked. I always enjoy the element of action and danger while reading any romance novel, and this book definitely didn't lack any of it. I mean, whats more dangerous then having the king of England more or less put a hit out on you (no i am not spoiling the story, this is revealed in the first chapter). The romance element was there, just not as strong as I would of liked. Like many books, the two lovers were resistant of each other at first, but still, some stolen kisses here or there and a steamy encounter in our male lead's parents' room does hold you over till the end. Overall, this was a really good book. Not exactly what I expected, but that inst exactly a bad thing. You will fall in love with the characters and at the end, come out of this book with fond feelings. Give it a read!!! (btw, the first few chapters are very interesting, so you wont find yourself pushing through the beginning looking to get to the 'meat and potato' of the plot. something I defiantly appreciate.) (my recommendations are all the medieval England romances Mrs.Lindsey has written thus far according to Wikipedia... chronologically displayed )
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book entitled Joining is just that, the unwanted wedding between two successful families in the Renaissance Era. Throughout the book, subtle details about Wulfric and Milicents past come to show and so does the love they never knew they had. During several attempts on Milicents death, Wulfric acknowledges his love for her a tries not so successfully to still hide it. All in all this is a great read, even for the ones who think that love will never come to them or the ones who dont want it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although the crux of Milisant and Wulfric's dislike is a bit contrived (the 'disastrous meeting' occurred when she was just six and he not yet a teenager), the strength of the characters helped the reader overlook it. More believable was Wulfric's desire to have a malleable, sweet-tempered wife. But Milisant was anything but that. She was humorously stubborn and headstrong (if not a bit too modern in her thinking). Her biting, witty remarks amuse Wulfric as well as the reader, and the banter/arguments between the characters is funny while successfully building the tension/chemistry between them. Not the best Lindsey book I've ever read, but there was humor, passion, and some interesting characters which made it enjoyable. (Maybe some day the Gentle Giant will get his own story???)
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is one of her best book yet! Its a MUST read book, never boring.
StacyLHanson on LibraryThing 5 months ago
If you like JL, you'll love this book. It is her perfected formula.
Anniik on LibraryThing 5 months ago
This book was alright. Johanna Lindsey is a pretty good writer, and the characters and atmosphere are well formed. But unfortunately, Milisant is one of the most grating, abrasive, and annoying heroines I've ever come across. She is completely unlikeable, completely anachronistic, ridiculous, and I wanted to smack her all the way through. Couldn't understand for a moment why Wulfric would ever want to marry such an annoying little shrew. She wasn't cute, she wasn't spunky, she was ~obnoxious. And rather ruined my liking of the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This too was one of my favorite books of the writter. I have read this book too more than once as well after a year or so between reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sandrafay More than 1 year ago
A great story. I loved the joining of Wulfric and Milasant. Their first meeting as kids really shaped their lives. I will have to read more of JL Medieval books.
pennys10 More than 1 year ago
I have all the Lindsey them all. I absolutely recommend you read all she writes.
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While I love Johanna's writing style, I definitely did not enjoy this book as much as the others. I couldn't get into Mili. For some reason I just found her a little annoying. Wulfric was okay, but not the kind of man I'm used to reading from Johanna. I would pass this one.
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Momov4 More than 1 year ago
Must read, lots of twists!
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