By Betina Krahn, 1993, Fantasy/Medieval
Avon, $4.99 ISBN #0-380-76772-4
Betina Krahn has written a romance that will delight the reader who enjoys a story about a demoiselle in distress. The Princess & the Barbarian is full of adventure and breathtaking love scenes. The author infuses the story with surprisingly humorous scenes, adding a fresh and invigorating appeal to the tale.
Thera of Mercia is a beautiful princess in need of a husband. The Elders, who have raised her to rule Mercia since she was a babe, have ordained that if she doesn't marry and find a king to rule by her side, the kingdom will not prosper and devastation will fall upon them.
The beautiful fairytale kingdom of Mercia, with its pristine pillars and stained glass windows has never known anything dark and evil until Thera, its precious princess, sets off to met with the only marriageable duc in all of Normandy.
Thera waits with anticipation and anxiety to secretly view the man that may soon become her husband. She is appalled by what she sees. The Duc de Beure is slovenly, filthy, grotesque, greasy, and displays disgusting table manners as he belches and grunts his way through his meal. Dragging her countess, Lillith, with her, Thera sneaks through the kitchens and into the streets. She finds that mercenaries are ransacking the village. As she attempts to stop the pillaging, she finds herself being kidnapped.
Darkness and evil abound throughout the land of Normandy, as pillaging mercenaries cause havoc to the villagers proclaiming that they will have what they will. Their evil lord watches from above. He sees Thera and decides he must have her for himself.
Thera is saved by the mysterious and seductive Saxxe. He knows by the way she is dressed that she is from nobility, yet he is drawn to her sensuous beauty. He insists on escorting her and Lillith home and demands to be repaid for his services by spending three nights of pleasure with her. Thinking that she will escape as soon as she reaches the boundaries of her kingdom she agrees.
Then the fun begins. The spoiled Thera engages in a delicious war of the sexes with Saxxe. My favorite scenes included Thera cooking for herself for the first time, and a mud fight with our hero.
There is even more entertainment after Thera and Saxxe reach Mercia. Saxxe purposely pushes all of Thera's hot buttons by acting like a barbarian. He refuses to change out of his skin breeches and galivants about her prim and proper kingdom half-naked. He persuades the village women to bathe him, which was a particularly delightful scene. Why is he acting like a cave man? To goad Thera into realizing he belongs to her.
Does he succeed? Well, Thera doesn't know what to make of all this. She childishly follows him all over the place, making sure everything he touches is put back where it was. She refuses to let him teach her people to defend themselves. Mostly she is frustrated at how easily he is winning over the hearts of her people.
Once Saxxe learns about Mercia's 7-night marriage laws, which proclaims that anyone who has spent seven nights in the arms of a lover is considered truly married, he tries his best to reform. He succeeds delightfully and charms the pants right off Thera.
After reading The Princess & the Barbarian, you may want to check out one of Betina Krahn's earlier books entitled My Warriors Heart, where the heroine is as powerful as the hero. Read on and may your life be full of romance and intrigue.
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