Another Chance to Dream
I’ve always had a hard time getting into medieval romances. It’s a hygiene thing. I just can’t imagine kissing (or having sex!) with someone who hasn’t bathed in weeks. Usually I only read books set in the years after bathing had gained in popularity. However, I now realize that if a book is well written, features strong plotting, and fantastic characters, I’ll spend little time wondering how clean they are. Such is the case with Lynn Kurland’s newest release Another Chance To Dream.
Gwennelyn of Segrave and Rhys de Piaget have loved each other ever since he rescued nine year-old Gwen from the pig pen which served as her dungeon, but Gwen is betrothed to Alain of Ayre and can never belong to a mere knight. A few years later Rhys sets off to earn enough money to bribe the king into allowing him to marrying Gwen. He returns only to find his former master dead and Gwen preparing to marry Alain in a few days!
The first surprise of the novel is that the marriage actually takes place. Gwen gives herself to Rhys before the ceremony and then marries Alain. Rhys is forced to serve as her personal guard and stand outside the bed chamber door while another man sleeps with the woman he loves. But this does not stop the lovers from plotting. Over the years, Rhys will again return to France to seek his fortune and Gwen will bear her husband two children. Meanwhile, Alain’s older brother Rollan schemes to have not only his brother’s wealth and title, but his wife as well. This time when Rhys returns, it’s not just the king he has to face, but a murder plot as well.
This was my first Kurland book and I’m happy to say it will not be the last. Although I would have preferred that Rhys not spend so many years away from Gwen, I still enjoyed their reunions. Sometimes Gwen annoyed me with her temper and silly stunts, but Rhys more than compensated for that. He was a perfect blend of hero and innocent, and I found him captivating.
As the villain, Rollan was pretty stereotypical until his plot went awry, causing injury to Gwen. Alain was the usual spineless and witless oaf, but Rhys’s family certainly made up for those less-than-original characters! His mother was an abbess and spy. His grandfather was also a spy, and his father – well you really just have to read about his father to appreciate him!
I was somewhat disappointed by the lack of love scenes in the book. I would have liked at least one really passionate encounter between Rhys and Gwen – after all they went through, they certainly deserved it! Kurland hinted and skirted around the physical relationship but never allowed the reader to be privy to it. I couldn’t help feeling a little cheated, but I found solace in the “loves conquers all” story line.
Despite my opinion that the plot was stretched out over too long a time period and my occasional annoyance with Gwen and her foolish temper, I still found Another Chance To Dream to be a recommended read, filled with engaging characters and unswerving love. By the end of the book I didn’t care if the characters bathed or not (an issue even Kurland herself has fun with throughout the book). They were happy – and deservedly so.