Lord of Seduction
Lord of Seduction is a Medieval with a childhood friends storyline and a road trip thrown in for good measure. Each of those worked in the book’s favor, but while I was predisposed to enjoy it, it left me wanting and in the end I wish I’d liked it more.
Six-year-old Lady Tanon Risande, goddaughter to King William, is betrothed to 17-year-old Cedric, nephew to a Welsh king, in an effort to aid in keeping peace along the border between the two countries. However, it is Cedric’s ten year old brother, Gareth, with whom Tanon becomes friends when the Welsh arrive at William’s court for the summer. The two become inseparable in a very nice, very sweet prologue, which is, sadly, my favorite part of the book.
Twelve years later, Cedric has been exiled for attempting to overthrow his uncle, and Gareth has arrived back in England to claim Tanon in his brother’s stead. Gareth is committed to peace for the sake of his people, and is determined to wed Tanon as a way to procure it. It doesn’t hurt that he has never forgotten Tanon, and always envied his brother his betrothal. He is eager to see her again but is a bit disappointed to find that the honest, forthright child has been turned into a fine Norman lady.
For her part, Tanon long ago resigned herself to a loveless, political marriage, and although she too has fond memories of her childhood friend and knows he is a better bargain than Cedric, she is not expecting or even wanting to find love in her marriage. In fact, she’d rather not. She grew up envious of her parents’ loving marriage and knows it would kill her to love someone who cannot love her. Why she assumes this would be the case with Gareth and fights against it is something I never worked out. However, Gareth has other ideas and is perfectly willing, nay – eager – to woo and love his wife.
They travel to Wales and while inroads to peace with the Normans have been made, there are many Welsh princes and factions fighting amongst themselves. Gareth has worked hard to keep his corner of Wales peaceful, but others would be happy to see Gareth brought low, chief among them his errant brother Cedric.
Tanon and Gareth are both likable enough characters and the rapport and attraction well done, though I felt the conflict between them too contrived. But Lord of Seduction is a mixed bag on the historical accuracy front. While the political situations felt real, the portrayal of King William was jarring. He was a doting, avuncular, jolly kind of guy, which certainly doesn’t fit in with my impression of someone called “The Conqueror.” And then when Tanon arrives in Wales, she immediately becomes a midwife and starts delivering babies – apparently there are no midwives in Wales, how they got along without her before her arrival is a mystery.
This was a pleasant enough story and a quick read. With so few Medievals being published the last few years, it was nice to revisit that time period again. But, this is a nice average read and so receives a nice, average C.