Friday, July 24, 2009

Hugh & Bess-Susan Higginbotham

Hugh & Bess
Susan Higginbotham
Sourcebooks, Aug 2009, $14.99
ISBN: 9781402215278

In 1341 thirteen years old Bess de Montacute is outraged and humiliated that she has been directed by her parents to marry Hugh le Despenser. It is bad enough he is twice her age and her breasts remain childishly flat, but the widow (her spouse died when she was eleven) is galled that his heritage is that of the son and grandson of traitors (see THE TRAITOR’S WIFE). She is aghast that her surname will be that of a disgraced family.

Hugh is as outraged as Bess over the arranged nuptials to a child bride, but is more accepting or at least hides his ire better. He knows to regain good standing for himself and his family; he must marry the bratty daughter of the Earl of Salisbury, a close advisor and friend to King Edward III. To him it simply means marrying for duty rather than love. As war and plague devastate England, against all odds Hugh & Bess fall in love.

This is a terrific fourteenth century historical romance starring two people forced into a political marriage who find love. Bess is a reluctant wife as this time she is expected to live with her husband unlike when she previously wed and remained home; High is a fabulous lead male who loathes marrying his young bride, but has no choice if eh wants to remove the stigma. Their changing relationship over a decade as she matures makes for a fine tale of love amidst betrayal, back stabling and war.

Harriet Klausner

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