"Impressive - A Keeper!"
With a complex plot and sizzling romance, this medieval
debut was hard to put down. The many layer of the
arrangement itself, are peeled away one by one, surprising
the reader to the last chapter.
The court is astonished when King Edward promises his ward,
Lady Christiana Fitzwaryn to David de Abyndon, a lowly
merchant. The arrangement appears quite straight forward on
the surface. It is said that David, having seen
Christiana, had wanted her and had paid a king's ransom to
In truth, David has yet to meet her. The marriage in fact,
is a ruse to cover the covert dealings between David and
the King. No one must ever suspect the truth. Christiana is
penniless, however she bears noble blood and an old family
name. She is far about David's degree. The marriage is
viewed as an insult to her, while certainly a feather in
David's cap. I will surely elevate the status of his
Christiana opposes the marriage for reasons of her own. She
fancies herself in love with a young knight. Naively she
believes the arrangement to be a punishment for a romantic
indiscretion. One night she sneaks out after curfew, an
makes her way to David's home to plead her case.
David is not at all what she expected. Rather than an old
man in need of a noble bride to give him heirs, the
merchant is handsome, young, proud, and virile. Her rank
does not intimidate him and he is not persuaded by her
arguments against the marriage. Having finally met her, he
is even more determined to go through with the wedding.
While her mind clings to thoughts of a life with the young
knight, David's passion and charm are slowly winning her
heart. There is much she doesn't know about this
complicated man. David's past holds many secrets.
Everything he's done in his life has been part of his
hidden agenda of vengeance. Born a bastard, he's used
every opportunity to attain the position he now holds. He
has a great many enemies and his only true allegiance is to
himself. On of these enemies would not be above using
Christiana as a bargaining chip.
Though the marriage is pleasant, David is not confident of
Christiana's feeling for him. This plays into right into
said enemy's hand. A contrived misunderstanding plunges
them both into grave danger. David will be forced to
choose between loyalty and honor, or fulfilling a life long
dream of revenge. Has his love for Christiana softened his
heart? Will she stand by him no matter what he decides?
Christiana is not a complicated character but she is the
one who shows the most growth. She is at first naïve,
spoiled and prejudiced against the lower class. At time
goes on she becomes a woman of courage, passion, and
wisdom. David is much more complex, though his basic
nature does not change. He is a passionate, driven man, an
opportunist who sees profit in virtually every situation.
Yet he proves he is able to bend for the sake of
Christiana's happiness, becoming noble in a way the
marriage itself could never make him.
Ms. Hunter's debut is most impressive. She has brought
history back to historical romance. By Arrangement goes
straight to the keeper shelf.
Copyright © 2000
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted August 23, 2001