"Family Black Sheep meets His Match"
This novel is the fourth single title in the Medieval
series featuring the seven de Burgh Brothers. (December's
anthology THE BRIDES OF CHRISTMAS gifted family patriarch
Campion de Burgh with a new love as well.)
This is Lord Stephen's story.
Of all the virile, handsome and virtuous brothers, Stephen
alone might have seemed a disappointment. Indeed though
he'd yet to meet a lady who would turn down
his considerable charms, Stephen has little reason to
respect himself, let alone expect respect from the others.
He is the family black sheep.
Perhaps it is his position in the middle of the family that
had made it difficult for him to know where he fits in the
scheme of things. His older brothers are either warriors or
scholars. Perhaps drawing negative attention is better than
receiving none at all. Be that as it may, it is clear that
he has sunken to the deepest depths, his life is an endless
round of wine and wenches. It is also painfully clear that
these are merely devices to hold his demons at bay.
Those demons keep him awake at night. His disgraceful
behavior hides a man who greatly needs the comfort which
seems to constantly elude him.
Followers of the series will know that in spite of
Stephen's bad attitude and outrageous behavior, Campion's
love is never in question. Stephen, though seemingly a big
disappointment to him, is more like his father than he
Campion is wise, and possesses a gift for knowing exactly
what each of his sons need. For this reason Stephen is the
reluctant recipient of a most unwelcome chore. He is to
escort one Brighid l'Estrange, a most unpleasant and
unremarkable woman, to Wales.
Brighid l'Estrange has good reason not to trust. Her late
had been an alchemist, and while she did not share his
gifts, she had inherited an unusual gift of her own.
But her father had long since determined that she
was of no use to him and had sent her to live with two
elderly aunts in England. The aunts had immediately
recognized Brighid's gift, a gift the two of them shared.
Brighid, mindful of their safety, had exacted a promise
from them that they would never use it. They had complied
to pacify her, until word had been received of her father's
death. Murder is suspected.
In search of answers the old ladies secretly determine
Brighid's future in a bowl of water. Ironically the
disreputable Stephen de Burgh seems to be the answer to
Unlike every other woman he's met, Brighid is not impressed
with Stephen. This intrigues him in spite of the fact that
he is NOT attracted to her.
Time and again he finds himself oddly stirred, though what
he is able to see beneath Brighid's drab and concealing
garments appears unimpressive. He is at a loss to
explain it, but no other woman has appealed to him since
he's met her, and not for the lack of offers.
Brighid's independent nature and headstrong actions
accidentally isolates the pair from the rest of their
traveling party. Nothing stands between her and a dangerous
world except Stephen de Burgh. It is then that she truly
learns the nature of the man she had scorned. But even more
important is that Stephen finally learns his own worth. He
learns that he is a man that can be depended on, a man of
courage and honor, worthy of love.
In the process Brighid's gifts are revealed to him and by
understanding and accepting them, Stephen learns to accept
an unusual legacy of his own, long suppressed. In turn he
helps Brighid accept herself. They are both stronger than
either realized, and together they find a remarkable
passion, for each brings out the best in the other.
Stephen's problems with alcohol abuse is not swept under
the rug. He admits it, struggles mightily with it, but he
realizes he must conquer it to have a life and love in
which he is a whole participant. I liked the fact that even
though it was clear that Brighid and Stephen were halves of
the same whole, Ms. Simmons made sure each was whole in
their own right before they found their happily ever after,
and that is how it should be. There is a great deal of
humor incorporated into the tale for the pair is a very
unlikely one on the surface. They exasperate each other
regularly. And what would a de Burgh family story be
without a villain to contend with. There is that element as
well. I have great hopes for these two and no doubt we will
see them again, for there are still four brothers left
unwed and family members tend to reappear from time to
time. I can't wait for them to meet the new Stephen, they
will be quite pleased I think. I believe the readers will
be most surprisingly impressed with Stephen de Burgh. I
highly recommend MY LORD DE BURGH. I enjoyed the
the series and I feel this is the best one to date.
Copyright © 2000
For PNR Reviews as written for UReviewIt.
Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted February 14, 2002