The Nun’s Betrothal
The nun referred to in the title is young, beautiful Gilda, who has not yet taken her vows. It’s a good thing, too, because once King Louis’s counselor, Lord Justin, has a look at her he’s inspired to plant a passionate kiss on her. Gilda considers the kiss a passing fancy, and Justin does not seem to have any further interest in her either, but then the king decides that the two of them should work together to find grounds for an annulment of a marriage between two nobles. As Gilda and Justin work together, and in between rounds of bickering, they must fight against a growing attraction.
The novel is set in 9th-century France, and while the names seem appropriate to the period, the doings at court, in church, and on the road harken more to a later, more chivalrous era. In truth, during this time period a Carolingian divorce consisted of a man sending his wife down to the cellar where her throat would be slit by a slave butcher. The husband would then satisfy the woman’s family through a payment for the murder, and he would be free, with the church’s blessing, to marry again.
Such dour doings do not appear in The Nun’s Betrothal. Instead, the lively prose centers around two characters that jest with one another in a light and playful manner whether they are finding ladies drugged in a shed or dealing with the twists and turns of medieval court proceedings.