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Rexanne Becnel

Genre: Historical Romance

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Rexanne BecnelThe Maiden Bride

A family with twin daughters lived upstairs from us when I was 11. They fascinated me, as I think twins always fascinate those of us not possessed of a living, breathing mirror image.

By the time I was planning my own family, however, I prayed fervently not to have twins. The thought of caring for one baby was scary enough. Two? I knew I was not up to it. (My kids might say I wasn't up to caring for one at a time either!) Anyway, I had my two children, three years apart, and put twins right out of my mind.

Then I began researching The Maiden Bride, a medieval story involving two sisters, and what do I come across but an article by Ruth Ryan Langan on the myths and legends that have surrounded twins through the ages. As quickly as that my sisters became twins, and The Maiden Bride found the spark it needed. (Thanks Ruth!)

My heroine, Linnea de Valcourt, though the exact image of her sister, is nonetheless reviled as the cursed daughter of Maidenstone Castle. Local superstition holds that twins share the same soul, with the first-born receiving all the goodness of that soul, and the second-born retaining all the evil. All her life, Linnea has labored in the shadow of her sister, the beloved first born, Beatrix. Still, that does not dim the love the two sisters feel for one another. Then the castle is attacked and overrun by Henry of Anjou's men, led by Axton de la Manse. Back after years of exile, Axton vows to wed his enemy's first born daughter, and thereby strengthen his claim to Maidenstone.

To save her adored twin from such a terrible fate, Linnea decides to impersonate Beatrix as the bride of their terrible conqueror. Not only can she protect her sister, she can finally prove herself worthy of her family's love.

Yet how is it she feels such fiery passion for her bitterest enemy? Could it be that she is tainted by her birth?

Although it is revenge that has driven the battle-hardened Axton to possess his enemy's daughter, in his innocent wife he discovers an unexpected passion he could never have foreseen.

But Linnea's family is gathering forces to reclaim Maidenstone. Linnea knows that eventually her trickery will be revealed. Meanwhile, however, she fears she is falling in love with the very man she must help to defeat.

I love writing medievals because the men were so much larger than life. And the bigger they are, the harder they fall! Look for my next book, A KISS IN THE STORM, in mid-'97.

Please write to me c/o St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

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