THE WILLING WIFE
King Henry rewards Rowland, the Dark of Aquitaine, by giving him a rich wife, Nicolaa of Cheneteberie. While not happy at being given in marriage again, Nicolaa knows she has no choice. Will this new husband be like the others before him?
Rowland realizes that for their marriage to work he must gain Nicolaa's trust. Which is difficult since she is always surrounded by her women, her way of protecting herself. Rowland knows he must marry off her ladies before he can gain her confidence.
While their relationship is in its fragile beginning stage, Rowland is called away by the king. While he is gone Nicolaa flees to another of her holdings. Rowland follows, knowing trouble is coming from one of the ladies' betrothed.
Nicolaa is a very strong woman, as many women of that day had to be in order to survive. While she can bow to her lord, she shows her strength in other ways. Rowland is torn by his past demons and almost ruins his chances with Nicolaa.
The conflicts in THE WILLING WIFE could have been stronger, but excellent character development makes this a memorable story. Though not as sensual as several of Ms. Dain's earlier novels, the power of love and the aura of romance remains strong. SENSUAL (Oct., 384 pp., $5.99)