NEVER LOVE A LORD – Heather Grothaus
Foxe Sisters , Book 3
Fallstowe Castle, England – 1277
Julian Griffin and his army are outside Fallstowe Castle, and King Edward demands Julian bring Lady Sybilla Foxe back to London to answer charges of treason. With the death of her mother several months before, Sybilla is now head of the castle, and she has studiously ignored all summonses from the King to appear at court. Amicia, Sybilla's mother, came from a powerful family in France, escaped to England and married Morys Foxe. At least that's the story that's been put out, but Julian has spent a great deal of time going to France and interviewing everyone from those days and learning everything he can about Sybilla. Once Julian and his nanny and his six-month-old daughter Lucy enter Fallstowe to negotiate her surrender, he intends to return Sybilla to the King, and as a reward for his successful job, he is promised Fallstowe Castle for himself.
Sybilla has known all her life that she would be the one to pay the ultimate price for the actions of her mother. Amicia took the place of the daughter of the De Lairne family in France and escaped to England, using her body with a soldier to ensure her safety. Pregnant with Sybilla, Amicia went to the Foxe Ring, a ruin at Fallstowe Castle with supposed magical properties. There she met Morys Foxe and quickly married him, and had two other daughters. But after Morys was killed during a battle, Amicia, being a commoner, could not legally inherit, and now that she has died, Sybilla, not having any of Morys Foxe's blood, is further prohibited from inheriting. Her love for Fallstowe is deep, and she is determined to save her life and Fallstowe, but unfortunately she has no idea how to do it. She tries to ignore her attraction to Julian, and even though he seems to know all about her and her family, she doesn't know what he has been promised by the King.
Between Sybilla mother haunting her and King Edward finally deciding Julian has let him down, they risk their lives and everything they hold dear in trying to ignore what the King wants. Is there any way they can share the truth with each other and somehow save themselves before the King takes things into his own hands?
Heather Grothaus has presented us with two very strong-willed people. Sybilla is haunted by her mother constantly telling her what to do, especially now that the trouble with the King has caught up to her. Julian has been a brave and trusted friend and soldier for King Edward, and with the prize of the castle for him and his daughter to ensure their welfare, he is ready to confront Sybilla with what he knows and prove she is not of Morys Foxe's blood and therefore not eligible to inherit. Told from their points of view, the gradual attraction to each other is not something either of them wants or desires, but as we know, love goes where it will.
Secondary characters are Sybilla's sisters, Alys and Cecily, both recently married and already expecting; they have no knowledge of their mother's early life. King Edward means to punish Sybilla for ignoring his summonses and convicting her of treason. There are lots of Julian's army who are ready to help him at any time, and of course his beloved Lucy, whom he refuses to be parted from even on duty for the King.
NEVER LOVE A LORD shows a relationship between a soldier for the King and the woman about to be arrested that is totally unexpected for both of them. The Foxe Sisters series is the last story after NEVER SEDUCE A SCOUNDREL (March 2012) and NEVER KISS A STRANGER (March 2011), if you're interested in sisters Alys's and Cecily's stories. Between Julian's duties and Sybilla's secrets, it's a rough road for them to figure out whether the other can be trusted. It you like old English historical stories, NEVER LOVE A LORD will transport you back in time.