Bride of the Beast

Devil in a Kilt

Knight in My Bed

 
Wedding for a Knight
by Sue-Ellen Welfonder
(Warner, $5.99, PG) ISBN 0-446-61381-9
***
Medieval romances are hard to find these days, so I started reading Sue-Ellen Welfonder’s Wedding for a Knight with some anticipation. Reading this story is like unwrapping a package and discovering that there are 10 more layers of wrapping paper before you get to the gift. There’s something lovely at its core, but it takes time to get to it.

Amicia MacLean learns that she is to be married. This is “wondrous news” to her because she was beginning to believe that she would never marry, and her brothers’ happy marriages have made her long for a family of her own. Amicia is even more delighted when she hears that her husband-to-be is Magnus MacKinnon, a man she has admired since her youth. She agrees to marry him, and they are wed by proxy at the request of Magnus’ father: “’Tis the old laird’s hope that having a bonnie new bride to greet him [Magnus] will sweeten his homecoming.”

Magnus learns of the marriage when he returns from battle but is far from pleased by the discovery. The issue is one of pride: he is unhappy that improvements to Coldstone Castle were financed through Amicia’s dowry, and he resents being presented with a fait accompli marriage. Magnus plans to invalidate the marriage by leaving it unconsummated.

Magnus’ decision isn’t Amicia’s only challenge to happiness. One of Magnus’ distant cousins, Janet, wants him for herself, and she constantly points out the deficiency of Amicia’s “dark and well-rounded” build. In addition, several mishaps at Coldstone Castle lead some to believe in a MacKinnon family curse.

Amicia is a worthy heroine, determined to make her marriage work and to make Magnus happy. Magnus is a different matter. His pride keeps her from Amicia for more than 200 pages, which is difficult to understand when it becomes clear that he has admired her for years. We do learn of his appreciation for Amicia’s large nipples, but I grew tired of reading about this after a few descriptive passages. This section of the book slows down the entire story.

Thankfully, things pick up as the story continues. I warmed up to Magnus when he shows and tells Amicia how much he loves her unconventional beauty. Several scenes toward the end of the book are wonderfully romantic. And the secret behind the MacKinnon curse is interesting and unexpected.

Readers who enjoy the medieval period will find a lot to like in Wedding for a Knight. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to unwrap a few layers to get there.

--Alyssa Hurzeler


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