Lady Sibylla Cavers doesn’t want to get married. She has rejected 3 men her father has arranged marriages with at the alter. After the third time, her father has declared enough and she will stay at home to take care of him. At 19, Sibylla is in service to princess Isabel. She enjoys this position and plans to stay in it as long as possible. While riding her horse, she observes a young child being swept away in the river. She does everything in her power to ensure that the child does not drown but with the swift current and her heavy clothes she almost drowns herself! To her rescue is Simon Murray, Laird of Elishaw and one of the men she left at the alter. He’s also the only one who promised to make her pay!
Simon is returning home when he spies two children being swept away in the river. He quickly sends one of his men to go after the one closest to them while he takes another with himself to try to intercept the brave woman and the other child. The last thing her expected to see was the Lady Sibylla. Remembering his promise to make her pay, instead of returning her to where she was staying, he took her to his home.
There they learned that the other wasn’t as they had thought. They also learned that their parents were keeping secrets that could affect not only Simon and Sybilla’s futures but their parent’s futures also. Add to this mix a couple of younger sisters, courtly power struggles and a missing heiress and you have an idea of the complexity of this story.
This story brings to life society in 14th century Scotland. There were power struggles going on at court and Lairds were being forced to pick sides. Marriages were arranged by each side for allies and men at arms though the actual age of those being married were frequently well below marriage age. Living on the border of Scotland and England lends even more to the unrest during this time. There is a peace treaty but the peace is shaky and even a little thing might destroy it. While this society was complex, Ms Scott lays it out so the reader will have no problems following it or understanding what is happening.
The characters are well written and well developed. Sibylla is known to be unusually stubborn and her father is thought to be too lenient. Simon shows that his loyalty though with Scotland is also with his English family connections. Even the secondary characters, if they can be called that, are expressive and interesting. The younger sisters are curious and sure that they are old enough to make their own decisions even when their elders are sure they are not. The parents have old issues to get over which only start new ones. Even the bad guys are entertaining.
This isn’t just a love story about Simon and Sibylla. There are several other stories going on at the same time which are intertwined with this one making it even more interesting. Simon’s mother and Sibylla’s father have a past that neither are talking about but each seems to enjoy the other’s company. Another love story? There is a missing heiress that some what matches the description of the young girl rescued from the river. Even though the child denies being the heiress, she’s hiding something. Is she really the heiress or does she know where the heiress is? Sibylla’s sister is engaged to be married but she keeps talking about someone else. Is she going to stop her wedding as her older sister did or will she do as she’s expected? All these subplots come to a conclusion as does Simon and Sibylla story making this book a fast paced, non-stop action story.
I enjoyed this book though I have a feeling that some of the very minor characters in this one had their own books previously. Still, I had no need to read them to enjoy this one. This book is extremely enjoyable all on its own. Ms Scott gives the reader a great story that has a nice historical background which she filled with facts to make it seem even more authentic. Excellent job.
Lady Sibylla Cavers is ripe for marriage, yet she's rejected the first three suitors her father brought. When one of these suitors, the dashing Lord Simon Murray, rescues both Lady Sibylla and the small child she was trying to pull from the churning River Tweed, Sibylla begins to see Lord Simon in a new light. As he cares for her and the child until both are recovered from their near-deaths, she finds admirable - even lovable - qualities in Lord Simon. But political intrigue surrounding the powerful governor of Scotland will throw obstacles in the path if Simon's and Sibylla's budding love. Simon will fight for his inherited estate, while Sibylla will use all of her wits to protect their future together.