ROSE OF RAPTURE by Rebecca Brandewyne


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Isabella moved like a fairy queen, with a shy grace reminiscent of gossamer wings fluttering gently on some soft and magical wind. . . ."" And Isabella is the fey heroine of this 15th-century heavy breather, which starts out with the wee Ashley orphans--Isabella and brother Giles--living fairly isolated lives at the family pile, Rushden Castle. But then King Edward IV sends a guardian for his Ashley wards: the greedy, loutish Earl of Oadby. So, with his mistress the Countess of Shrewton, Oadby makes life a nightmare. . . until the arrival of Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who takes Giles into his entourage. Moreover, passion appears when Isabella is 13--in the person of Giles' handsome friend, Sir Lionel, who is equally blasted by desire and determines to have the delectable Isabella instead of the hoecake he's pledged to. Happy ending? Surely you jest. Because, after the Earl spins to his death during a rape attempt, a new guardian appears: half-Welsh bastard Lord Warrick, whom the King has chosen as Isabella's husband! Though sour on love and women, Warrick grudgingly agrees to the marriage: he's bitter, Isabella's fearful. But their sex life, which ""sends bolts of white-hot corruscation through her body,"" is a wow, even if the relationship gets ever stormier. Warrick accuses Isabella of unfaithful thoughts and actions, particularly concerning Sir Lionel. Meanwhile, someone has been trying to murder Isabella via a pack of bandits, a rabid dog, and a heave into a lion's pit. And, in the outside world, there are terrible pre-Tudor events: Richard (a good guy here) is now King, but accused of murdering his royal nephews; Richard's Queen dies; Henry Tudor girds for battle; and, with a cry of ""A Horse!"" at the battle of Shrewsbury, Richard and the Plantagenet dynasty expire. (Giles rushes up with a horse and is fatally wounded) Finally, then, Isabella--a Richard loyalist--lands in the Tower while Warrick, one of Tudor's men, is on the rise. But, not surprisingly, in spite of loyalties under two banners, Isabella and Warrick do at last opt for togetherness. . . and those ""sweet torrid tremors of delight."" By the author of Love Cherish Me: top pick on the Goo Parade, with more history (sort of) than most of the ilk.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1983
Publisher: Warner