This latest by Jayne Ann Krentz, whose historical romances bear the pseudonym Amanda Quick, arrives hot on the heels of her most successful hardcover yet, Mistress (LJ 5/15/94).
YA-A delightful journey into Norman England. Seeking to escape her domineering uncle and to arrange a better future for her brother, Alice agrees to become betrothed to the fearsome knight, Hugh the Relentless, who needs a competent household manager. Alice settles into her new home but must rescue her new friend and neighbor, Lady Emma, the wife of Hugh's sworn enemy. Later, Hugh himself is poisoned. But by whom? The plot encompasses folk superstitions and shows how humans can be taught to hate, often without reason. The central characters come to life in full detail; their witty dialogue provides an amusing diversion in the tradition of Julie Garwood. Some period customs are explained but the actions are more important to the plot. Suspense and excitement are developed as Hugh and Alice learn to love one another in true soap-opera fashion.-Claudia Moore, W.T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
For her newest romance, Quick reaches back to medieval times. Verbally and romantically jousting in this novel are Lady Alice and Hugh the Relentless, who strike a bargain in order to obtain a crystal to which both lay claim. In order to pursue their search, they announce their engagement, a commitment that Lady Alice plans to break and Lord Hugh secretly plans to convince her to keep. Lady Alice wants the crystal for academic interest--she is a scholar of natural philosophy and plans to enter a convent where she can study in peace for the rest of her life. The crystal is part of a legend surrounding the land Hugh has recently inherited, and the peasants believe it is the key to their prosperity. By the time Lady Alice and Lord Hugh complete their search, naturally, they fall in love. Quick creates an interesting array of villains and minor characters and adds subplots that give her novel more depth than a typical historical romance.