By Honor Bound by Scotney St. James 1989 Avon Books
This historical romance has a unique version of history with Richard III more of a tragic king than the villain Henry VII painted him, but the victor gets to rewrite history to make himself the hero.
The story begins at Nottingham Castle where Marganna Tudor, the illegitimate daughter of Owen Tudor’s daughter, is living with her Aunt Margaret, Lady Stanley, who wants her to spy on King Richard III and find out the location of the late king’s sons, Edward and Richard.
While she is playing the harp, Lord John Rathburn, mistaking her for his mistress, Bronwyn, fondles her and whispers words of love. In retaliation, Marganna sings a bawdy ballad about northsmen, Rath’s homeland, but he joins in, insulting her with his own verses.
He follows her and finds her in the King’s chamber. She has stolen a letter with news of the boys. While dancing he discovers the letter and the king orders Rath to take her to his northern castle and hold her prisoner. Bronwyn and his best friend, Will, accompany them.
Marganna tries to escape several times but Rath’s kisses confuse her. Rath realizes he no longer has any desire for Bronwyn and loves Marganna. When Donal, a Tudor loyal, arrives, Rath won’t allow him to enter. They travel to Rathburn Hall, and she ends up going to Nappa Hall where she meets the young princes. They become friends when she acts out Robin Hood with them.
Caught in a storm on their way home, they make love, and she confesses she is illegitimate. She longs for a husband and home of her own. Richard III arrives and tells them Lady Stanley is spreading the rumor that Rath kidnapped Marganna. They are forced to marry. They fight and love. Donal kidnaps her and beats her to reveal the whereabouts of the boys. She thinks she is lying when she tells him Rathburn manor, but when she escapes and tells Rath, he is furious because the boys are there. He only realizes she had no choice when he sees the bruises on her body.
When Henry VII invades Wales, Rath and others take the boys to the coast and safety. Rath leaves to join Richard. Marganna says good-bye to the boys and learns Rath is ill and a prisoner. She goes to Henry VII to beg for his life.
The history plays an integral part of the story, which I deem important in this genre. The facts are easily inserted into the description and dialogue. The romance is well-written, but the reader also will understand English history by the final page.
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