The Prize (Anglais) Poche – 4 novembre 1996
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In a climate of utmost treachery, where Saxons still intrigued against their Norman invaders, Royce and Nicholaa reveled in their precious new love...a fervent bond soon to be disrupted by the call of blood, kin, and country!
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Ok for real, this has got to be the best historical I have ever read!! I should warn you now; this is going to be a long review!
Ok let's get the description of the story out of the way so I can tell you how much I loved this book!
The year is 1066 and the Norman's are taking over the Saxon's. Well
Nicholaa (what a cool name!) did not like that at all, since she is a Saxon and she has had to defend her home to Norman's trying to take it over. She defeats a couple of the invaders but the last one she could not. The king has ordered Baron Royce to bring the woman that had defended her home so well against his vassals. She was going to be The Prize for the lucky knight who won the battle for her. The King was allowing his knights to compete for her hand in marriage. But, Nicholaa ruined it for the knights when she saved the Queens niece. So the king changed his mind and allowed Nicholaa to choose from any of the single knights. So, of course since she had already spent a week or so with Royce she choose him because she saw that he was patient and seemed nice enough. They get married and then the fun begins!!
Nicholaa is funny. Almost all of Julie Garwood's females are strong and Nicholaa is no exception. During the initial invasion on her home she hit Royce with a rock from her sling. Then during the week they were traveling to London to meet with the king so that she could be married off she gave him hell. Julie Garwood does not go into great length with that week but what you get is very funny. Nicholaa is very protective of her family and when she marries Royce she decides to make the best out of it. She wants a happy home because she knew what it was like to have one because of her parents. She is faced with some hard situations but handles them very well. She is very cunning and smart. She is also a little stubborn but then so is Royce. She really wants to make Royce happy so she decides to be the type of wife he wants and totally changes, this did not upset me at all because you see how much Royce hates it and how he feels guilty about it because he was the cause of the change.
So on to Royce...........OH MY GOODNESS!! This character is great! He is a very well respected Baron and is known for his training of great warriors. He has a list of soldiers waiting to be trained by him. He is feared my many, but the man has a gentle and kind heart when it comes to Nicholaa and I absolutely loved that! He always wanted her to be happy and of course he was not a push over. He stood his ground when he thought it was important. He tries to come off arrogant and when it comes to his soldiers he is because his men are the best, but in other things he is reasonable. I did not get mad at him once. He is a bit insecure. He has a scar on his face, he is very tall and wide, normally women were afraid of him. But she doesn't see that, she only sees the silver flecks in his eyes. He can not understand why she loves him but he is very happy about it. Sweetness odometer (rate 1-10). He misted up when she tells him she loves him. He was so full of joy, I give that a freakin 20! Royce thinks that Nicholaa is very pretty but what he really likes is the fact that she is smart. He is more concerned about her mind then about her appearance. All
I have to say is pages 235-236 MY FAVORITE PART OF THE BOOK!! It shows the kind of man that he is which is a good one. He has an evil sense of humor and I loved it. Before you think I am crazy let me explain. Nicholaa wanted to get him drunk and he realized it and got her drunk then in the morning she had a hang over and he messed with her by shouting, slamming doors and having food sent to her. It is something I can respect and laugh about because it is something I would do and have had done to me. Come on you are trying to tell me you have never messed with some one when they have had a hangover? If not, you should try it, freakin fun!! He is also an order freak!! He does not like surprises where as she loves them. He likes to "Instruct" her in the ways this marriage is going to work, which she says is lecturing and I would have to agree with her. It is funny though.
Ok so can you guess I loved this book?? What I really really liked about this book is the fact that he wanted to wait until he had her complete loyalty and honesty before he touched her. He also did not want her to be afraid of him at all. So they ended up waiting for a little over 2 weeks before they had their "Wedding night". This book really is a great story! Julie Garwood out did herself with this book. The writing flowed very well and I was never bored! I laughed and sighed and laughed some more and sighed a whole lot more because Royce was so great!! Have I mentioned that I liked Royce? Oh yeah, it is that long paragraph above this one. The characters in the story were great and fit so well together. I really did not want this book to end at all. I have said that before but I really did not want this one to end. It was a great historical and you see how he trains his man and I thought that was great of Julie Garwood to put that in.
As soon as Royce secures Nicholaa's holding he immediately goes in search for the lady herself who has now become known as "The Prize". Intent on taking her back to William's court, what Royce never expected is to meet the first woman who will drive him to distraction and eventually capture his heart.
If there is one thing I have come to expect and love from a Julie Garwood novel, it is the quiet humor and likeable hero and heroine. THE PRIZE is certainly no exception. From the first couple of pages, I knew I was in for some entertaining reading, and couldn't wait for the romance between Royce and Nicholaa to blossom. Nicholaa is courageous and clever. I loved how she pretended to be a nun in the hope of escaping capture by the Normans. And reading about the guilt Royce suffered for the strong attraction he felt for the supposed "Sister Danielle" was quite delightful. And oh how Nicholaa managed to fool them all, albeit for a short period only. Sparks fly whenever those two are together. My favorite scene would probably be the part when Nicholaa was ordered by king William to choose any one from his favored barons to take as her husband. Checkmate it certainly was for Royce!
THE PRIZE is an entertaining and lighthearted read. You will enjoy the interaction between Royce and Nicholaa, and will adore him for his kindness and patience, not only with Nicholaa, but with her brothers and his men too.
When Royce finally gets Nicholaa back to London, he discovers that a twist of fate and the queen, Matilda, makes him the "prize" instead of the Saxon beauty. Although he is stunned with the turn of events, he decides that "marriage is like a map". Little does he suspect that Nicholaa is about to turn his map theory and his life upside down.
Julie Garwood creates a superb romance with just the perfect amount of humor. A terrific story that I have read many times over.