From Publishers Weekly
Medeiros (A Whisper of Roses) pens the ultimate romantic fantasy: a beautiful woman falls in love with a handsome man and they live happily ever after. The challenge is to give the old theme a new twist, and that Medeiros does with a bang. Holly de Chastel, the fairest woman in England, considers her beauty a curse. So far, Holly's trickery and deceit have scared off her suitors, but her father has come up with a foolproof plan to get her wed: a tournament in which the best man wins Holly. Medeiros's already humorous tone turns hilarious when Holly shows herself to the retinue of brave knights?but in disguise as an ugly hag. Only two accept the challenge, and her hand is won by Sir Austyn of Gavenmore, who needs Holly's dowry to restore his home and his honor. He learns to love Holly for her inner beauty, but love is forgotten when Holly's secret is revealed. "Let beauty be your doom" was the curse the faerie queen put upon one of Sir Austyn's ancestors, and every Gavenmore man since has been doomed by beauty. This "happily ever after" is a hard-won battle, but one romantics will relish.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Spoiled, headstrong Holly de Chastel views her legendary beauty as a curse. Her father has brought scores of suitors before her, and Holly has chased off every one. Finally, the Duke feels pushed to the edge. In a fit of exasperation, he decides to hold a jousting tournament, with Holly's hand in marriage as the prize. The news travels quickly, and as befitting such a famous beauty, the castle is soon packed to the rafters with knights seeking to win the fair maiden. Only most of them scuttle out of the courtyard at their first sight of Holly. The rumors of her beauty have been some kind of cruel joke. The woman who appears before the assemblage is ugly, horribly ugly. With the assistance of her maid, Holly has hacked off her hair, stained her teeth a filthy brown, and padded her clothing to create a body that's lumpy in all the wrong places. Ugly suits Sir Austyn of Gavenmore, and the towering Welshman joins the tournament in earnest. He's not interested in winning a beauty, indeed he plans to stay as far away from beautiful women as he can. He knows he's doomed by The Gavenmore Curse. All of the men in his family have married beautiful women, and all have mistreated and murdered their wives in fits of jealous rage. Austyn has no intention of fulfilling his birthright. What he does need is money to refurbish his crumbling castle, and the fair Holly has a substantial dowry. Of course once he lays eyes on her, Austyn understands the necessity of such a large purse. A fearsome warrior, Austyn wins the tournament and starts off for Wales with his new bride. As they travel across England, Holly and Austyn come to care for each other. Holly itches to reveal her true self to her new husband, but she soon learns of the curse, and Austyn's determination to stay far away from beautiful women. Somehow, someday Holly knows he will have to learn the truth. She only hopes he can learn to love her anyway.Clever and well told. Ms. Medeiros creates real, three dimensional characters. Fast-paced and sensual. An intriguing story wrapped in rich historical detail.Annette Carney -- Copyright © 1994-97 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times
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