|Medieval stories appear difficult to write, giving the reader the right mix of history with romance. It is also difficult to find a balance between a strong heroine and one who seems out of character for the time. In this case, the author missed the mark on the history, the romance and the heroine. I had a hard time liking a woman who claims to only love her people but acts like a spoiled brat, putting them and herself in tough situations. Pregnant by the Warrior tried to be a good book, but there just wasn’t enough to make me agree.
Lea of Montreau is a widow of just a few weeks, but she isn’t mourning her husband Charles Villaire. He was a man who hated her and rarely treated her with anything but disdain. He tried to bed her once, but it apparently was not pretty and he never tried again. Now Lea is back in charge of her family’s keep and knows she needs to do something if she wants the keep to remain neutral in the war between Princess Matilda and King Stephen. Lea abhors war and is determined to protect the men of her lands. She is also determined to only marry a man who is not a warrior and who will honor her neutrality. But Matilda sends a warrior to guard her keep and this worries Lea. She has a missive from Stephen saying he will marry her off if she is not pregnant with her dead husband’s child, and she knows she is not. So she devises a plan to seduce a warrior and make everyone think it is Charles’ child.
The warrior Matilda sends is none other than Jared of Warehaven. Jared and Lea were betrothed but she jilted him at the altar years ago. Her reason for leaving him was because he was a warrior and she could not bring herself to marry a man of war. But her father told him it was because he was a bastard’s son. He was hurt and went off to war hoping to die. But he didn’t. Now he has returned with both revenge and lust on his mind. He is amazed that Lea acts like she wants to seduce him and ultimately he lets her. But by this time Lea has realized that she is still in love with Jared and the seduction is more a result of passion that any plan she had in mind.
Throw in some mischief from past foes (which make no sense at all to the story), villainy by Charles’ brother who wants control of her keep and several more impetuous yet stupid acts by Lea and you have the tale. Throughout all, Lea and Jared fight their lust and deny that the love they felt when younger still is in evidence. Their whole “romance” is made up of fighting and making love then fighting some more.
This story was hard to pick up again if I had to put it down. The writing was good enough that I was able to read it without difficulty, but I never liked Lea and Jared went from-weak willed to valiant in a heartbeat. His lovemaking was great, but beyond that, there wasn’t much to him. Agatha, who is Lea’s maid, at one point scolded her and told her she was too impulsive to ever think anything through and that is what had caused all her problems. I applauded and felt that this basically summarized the story.
I also struggled with Lea’s main motivation – that of hating warriors and war. That is all she has known and frankly, at the time, all the entire world had known. Her reasoning made no sense. The ending was unrealistic and dull.
Pregnant by the Warrior is one of those stories that work for short bursts but fail to maintain the reader’s interest over the whole book. Beware.