Ms. Bennett is a master at writing historical romance. She is able to capture the feelings and attitudes of the time period she is writing about without becoming too technical and losing her contemporary readers. Her books blend modern sensibilities with the difficulties and challenges of the past.
Gunter Behaim is a Landsknecht, a warrior who fights for Emperor Charles V. He is a mercenary who sells his service. His life is not glamorous and is in fact quite dangerous. Gunter leads a hard existence with constant battles and occasional periods of rest. He as always been a loner, but recently became friends with a man named Martin. When Martin is wounded in battle, Gunter agrees to wed his betrothed in order to protect her. He does not expect this to be a chore, but believes that the woman will be willing after a suitable mourning period.
Alonsa Garcia de Aranjuez is a Spaniard. She is betrothed to Martin when he succumbs to his battle wounds and dies. Alonsa met Martin when she was selling the blades that her father is known for. Now Alonsa must find a way to get back to her father so that she can lead a quiet peaceful life. For Alonsa holds a secret. Any man that loves her will end up dead. This is the curse leveled on her by a scorned Gypsy lover when she was a teenager. Alonsa knows that she is meant to spend her life alone when Martin dies. He was a man who swore he would not love her. Now Gunter is telling her that they must marry and she is awfully tempted. Alonsa knows that she cannot marry him and risk his death from the curse.
I enjoyed Ms. Bennett’s first book The Legacy and this book is just as good. It takes real talent to give readers a feel for the time period and not get bogged down in describing every single detail. Ms. Bennett has this talent. She gives us a sense of what it was like to live in 1525 and to be a part of a war camp and soldiering lifestyle. Ms. Bennett does not shy away from the difficulties this type of life provided for her characters but uses the difficulties to craft her plot. The story of Alonsa’s search for love grabbed me from the first page and I had to keep reading. I wanted to know how Gunter was going to convince Alonsa to marry him and to ease her guilt and fears about the curse. The journey these two people take is one of true love.