Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Devil of Jedburgh by Claire Robyns

The only thing worse than being hand-fasted to the Devil of Jedburgh was falling in love with him.

Raised on rumors of The Devil of Jedburgh, Breghan McAllen doesn't want an arranged marriage to the beast. The arrogant border laird is not the romantic, sophisticated husband Breghan dreams of—despite the heat he stirs within her.

In need of an heir, Arran has finally agreed to take a wife, but when he sees Breghan's fragile beauty, he's furious. He will not risk the life of another maiden by getting her with child. Lust prompts him to offer a compromise: necessary precautions, and hand-fasting for a year and a day, after which Breghan will be free.

For a chance to control her own future, Breghan makes a deal with the Devil. Passion quickly turns to love, but Arran still has no intention of keeping the lass, or making her a mother. He loves her too much to lose her. But when a treasonous plot threatens queen and country, Breghan has to prove only she is woman enough to stand by his side.

Reviewer: BlackTulip
The story takes place in the Scottish Lowlands, in a context of high instability and open rebellion. The reign of Mary Queen of Scots was marked with murder and scandal, her court was a viper's nest, where betrayal and plot were commonplace and where murder was often the easiest and quickest way to erase obstacles along the way to power.

The superb opening scene definitely gives the tone for the rest of this compelling story that keeps you in suspense page after page.

Two prominent families, loyal to the Queen made a pledge, one day, Breghan McAllen and Arran Kerr of Ferniehurst would have to marry... In a week's time Breghan will be the wife of the Devil that haunts her nightmares and Arran Kerr has even more terrible and frightening names attached to him ...

Breghan is the only daughter in a family populated with twelve brothers, she was rather spoiled but not to the point of being capricious. She's only young, impulsive, and a bit wild. Their first unexpected encounter is dramatic and explosive and it's only the beginning!

Arran has need of sons to inherit the land and responsibility and that's why he wants Breghan, whose mother produced a dozen sons without apparent problem; well that's what he thought until he saw Breghan!

Breghan had romantic ideas about the man who would love and cherish her; but there would be no companionable nights before a fire here, because Arran Kerr is a devil and a beast!

Before they met, they both had strong views about their future but now that they have met, it has become much more complicated.

These are very harsh times where some brutal acts will demand even more brutal retribution but thank God there are also some moments of softness. There's a deeply moving paragraph in the middle of the story that says:
"Do you believe in love, Arran?" Breghan asked more softly. "Do you believe there can be more between a man and woman than practicalities and necessities? Have you ever wondered if there's someone out there who could make your heart beat faster with a mere look, who could take your breath away with a simple caress, who could fill your life with even a handful of memories that grow richer with time instead of fading?"
Arran's gaze went over her shoulder, to some point on the blank wall behind her. He was silent so long, Breghan began to hear her own erratic pulse thunder inside her head.
"Such wistful emotions are a fatal luxury." His gaze came back to rest on her, a cool and calm green. "I would run from such a person rather than seek her out."
At this stage of the story he cannot answer her otherwise. A moment later, he gives a silent answer to Breghan earlier question:
"Do you believe in love, Arran?
When I look into your eyes, darling, when I hold you in my arms, when I pretend reality can be changed and I'm allowed to have my heart's desire...then, yes, I believe in love."
Claire Robyns delivers a wonderful, exciting, and poignant story with two very likable and strong main characters. And despite their doubts, their fears, danger always being present, and a curse that will almost tear them apart they won't be able to stand up to the irresistible force of their passion. The author has proven here to be a great storyteller who knows how to balance very skillfully history and fiction. I give 5 big stars!

Publisher: Carina Press


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