Friday, March 14, 2008

Border Wedding - Amanda Scott

Border Wedding
Amanda Scott
Grand Central Publishing

Historical Romance

Lady Margaret (Meg) Murray lives in precarious times. In the Borderlands between England and Scotland of 1388, the border itself changes nearly as often as alliances do. At 18, she’s more than eligible to be married, but her father, Sir Iagan Murray, needs to tread carefully, both financially and politically, to keep his family safe. When he and his men catch a group of reivers, he plans to hang them all, until his wife realizes the potential boon that fate has brought them.

Sir Walter (Wat) Scott, eldest son of a laird, and with ties to the King of Scots, Douglas, only intended to steal back the cattle that were his. But Sir Murray’s men were waiting, and instead, Wat and his men are scheduled to hang. Until Sir Murray makes an unbelievable request: marry his eldest daughter, Margaret, widely known as one of the homeliest woman in Scotland, and Sir Murray will spare Wat’s life. Wat bargains for the rest of his men as well, but eventually agrees. For Wat, this ends any discussion of his marrying his unpleasant cousin. For the Murray family, it gives them ties to the mighty Douglas and ties to the powerful English Percy family through Lady Murray.

The opening chapters are a joy to read, setting the stage with a succinct, but not intrusive, explanation of the current political situation between England and Scotland. The presence of Meg’s mother, the Lady Murray, is always a pleasure, as she manages to maneuver her husband into doing the right thing while making him think it’s all his idea. Meg’s sister Amalie provides a lighter foil to Meg’s sense of duty. And who can blame Meg? Being married off to a man you set eyes on a few hours ago cannot be easy, even if it was not completely unheard of at the time.

The rest of the story unfolds around the evolving relationship between Meg and Wat. Meg soon learns that Wat takes his vows seriously and intends to treat her well as his wife. Watching the two of them get to know each other is touching. Add to this the ongoing political intrigue of the day, and Meg’s discovery that one of her brothers is a spy, and you’ve got a great story. No prior knowledge of history is required, and the author does readers like me a great favor by including a pronunciation guide in the Author’s Note. A new Amanda Scott novel is always cause for happiness, and this is certainly no exception. Block out some time and get lost in the Borderlands.

Rating: 8
March 2008
ISBN# 978-0-446-19798-4 (paperback)


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