Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: The Perfect Wife by Lynsay Sands

Normally medieval-set historical romances are not my romances of choice. There's just altogether too much dirt and battle. But this particular book had enough humor, slapstick and otherwise, to leaven the difficult realities of life in the eleventh century.

Lady Avelyn is not a slight girl; she is a fully grown woman, rounded, comfortable and eminently skilled to be mistress of her own home, just the sort of woman her soon to be husband Paen wants to marry. However, she has spent so many years being bullied by her nasty cousins that she can only see faults, fretting that Paen will reject her upon first sight despite their long-standing betrothal. And so Avelyn, who had intended to lose weight for her wedding but hasn't managed to do so, allows her mother to bind her tightly and sew her into her wedding dress, which will, of course lead to disaster. It is stunts like this and others that lead Paen to decide that his new wife is sickly, frail, and completely accident-prone, something that worries him unduly.

Refreshingly, the misunderstandings between Paen and Avelyn do not lead to arguments but they continue to keep the newly married pair apart regardless as neither addresses the issues. And so these two, tentatively attracted to each other, fumble along getting to know one another even as Avelyn evades attempts on her life from an undiscovered source. This particular plot line is the one that provides the major plot climax and enables Avelyn and Paen to finally see each other. The scenes between Avelyn and Paen are a bit more humorous than sexy but they are likable characters overall and it is rather nice to be able to laugh at the stress of getting to know your spouse only after the wedding. A light read, fans who like a little less seriousness in their historical romances will find this quite appealing.

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