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LOVE AND MAYHEM
By Nicole Cody
Historical romance (16th century Scotland)
Signet Eclipse Historical
Lady Marion has been raised in a convent since she was six years old, far away from the Scottish border skirmishes and clan feuds which were so much a part of 16th century life. When her father was killed in the battle of Flodden Field, her fiancé since birth, Iain Armstrong, sent her north to the abbey at Skye. Despite her upbringing, she's never lost her sense of independence nor her temper.
Twelve years after her banishment to Skye, Sir Iain Armstrong arrives at the convent, announcing his intention of marrying the lady and taking her home with him. There are numerous reasons for his proposal, including the fulfillment of their fathers' wishes, the appeasement of two royal courts and the future of Scotland. He hopes their alliance will put an end to the troubles in his part of the Borders.
Marion has no interest in being the solution to his problems, despite the encouragement of the nuns. She knows Iain has no more desire to marry her than she has to wed him. Despite her best attempts, some of which are quite unique, Marion finds herself married to Iain before they leave the convent for their journey home, where a proper ceremonial wedding will be celebrated.
During the journey home, Marion sees evidence of Iain's contention that there is strife in their lands, attacks he contends are organized and carried out by her cousin, who has been spreading discontent and rumors throughout the clans. As they face ambushes and raids, Marion realizes Iain is a man of courage and intelligence. She also discovers he's a man of passion, who can ignite her heart and her body.
However, she's still unconvinced he bears her any love. When they reach home, she is welcomed into the bosom of her family by her aunts and her Uncle William. This is the true acid test of Iain's affections. Marion's two maiden aunts can't complete a sentence or a thought on their own. On the rare occasion this occurs, the other must repeat the basics. Neither seems totally grounded in reality. But they are the most sane and lucid individuals on earth compared to Marion's uncle, Sir William McCall, who is convinced he's the Wallace of Scots fame.
As the Border raids intensify and Sir William becomes more convinced he alone is responsible for defending the castle and the clan, Marion is forced to make some difficult decisions, not the least of which is admitting her love of Iain Armstrong.
LOVE AND MAYHEM is an intriguing combination of history, romance, humor and family betrayal, set against a background of 16th century Scotland. You'll smile, laugh, sigh and occasionally hold your breath as you journey with Marion through emotional shoals and physical dangers.
-- Reviewed by DanaRae Pomeroy
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