Synopsis: Due to her parents’ promise at her birth, Lady Rosemarie has been prepared to become a nun on the day she turns eighteen. Then, a month before her birthday, a friend of her father’s enters the kingdom and proclaims her parents’ will left a second choice. If Rosemarie can marry before the eve of her eighteenth year, she will be exempt from the ancient vow.
Before long, Rosemarie is presented with the three most handsome and brave knights in the land. But when the competition for her heart seemingly results in a knight playing foul, she begins to wonder if the cloister is the best place after all. If only one of the knights the one who appears the most guilty had not already captured her heart.
Much of this book dwells on torture; an old man is almost boiled alive, a prisoner is being eaten alive by rats, beheaded bodies displayed, men tortured to death, a man is seared with a hot iron, the sheriff’s heart is cut out of his chest, a tongue ripper is attached to Rosemarie’s nurse, other bodies displayed and different torture methods are mentioned. (Not all is described in great detail, but most of it is mentioned in some detail.)
Colin is shot with an arrow, Bennet is thrown from his horse. A nobleman is poisoned. Derrick escapes prison by fighting; a battle is fought. Rosemarie is held at knifepoint. A dagger impales and kills the abbot. Derrick kills two prisoners out of mercy, as they are dying in great pain inflicted by torture.
If Rosemarie did not marry for love before her 18th birthday, she would be sent to a convent. Finding out about the loophole of marriage three weeks before her birthday, Rosemarie has to fall in love in three weeks- therefore, she has three candidates to contest for her hand by giving gifts and spending time with her.
A brief infatuation with a childhood friend is described. Although Rosemarie has only brief attractions to Bennet and Colin, her attraction and thoughts and feelings are delved into regularly and described. So is Derrick’s growing attachment to Rosemarie. Their kisses are described.
A remark about taking a woman to bed, and being denied a woman’s company.
Wine and mead is drunk throughout, someone is poisoned, a man is thought to be drunk.
Although Rosemarie is the rightful ruler, the sheriff and Abbott both go behind her back.
Convents are mentioned, and the end of the book transpires there. Characters pray and ask God for guidance. Rosemarie contemplates God’s will for her life. A nun’s vows are partially said. The tears of Virgin Mary, said to hold great power, was used by Rosemarie’s parents so as to make a vow. God’s will for marriage is also mentioned.
Overall feel: Although an interesting and quick read, this book is far from ‘light’. It is covered with references to torture, death and consequence. Set in the medieval time period, it does not shy away from the horrors of that time; no, some might think it dwells upon it too much. The romantic feelings are quite descriptive, but not vulgar or explicit. At least the ending is happy…