THE BRIDE PRICE
Mallory enthralls with her depiction of an era where women were pawns and third or illegitimate sons second-class citizens. The characters' emotional growth is paramount, and Mallory's unforgettable novel reminds us that home is where the heart is.
Seven English aristocrats devise a competition for third and illegitimate sons, with the prize a title created by the king, immense property holdings, incredible wealth and a bride from a wealthy family.
Sebastien Deville, the third and illegitimate son of the Duke of Grandien, sees an opportunity to reclaim his mother's lands and gain enough wealth and power to improve the lot of the ordinary citizenry. He cares nothing about the bride, until he meets Caroline Martin, a distant cousin of the duke's and a companion to the duke's daughter, Sarah, the designated bride. Soon Sebastien has to choose between his longing for legitimacy and his love for Caroline. (Avon, Nov., 380 pp., $5.99)