Monday, August 29, 2016

ARC Review: Conquering William by Sarah Hegger

Series:     Sir Arthur's Legacy #3
Pub. Date:Aug. 30, 2016
Publisher:Lyrical Press
Length:250 pages

I have been trying to work a book by Sarah Hegger into my calendar ever since I met her at RT earlier this year. Trust me when I say that she is one cool cat! I had planned to start with Sweet Bea, but I ended starting the series out of order with Conquering William. There is some character crossover from the earlier books of the series. I believe that William is the sister of the two prior heroines in Sweet Bea and My Lady Faye. But even with the character crossover, I didn't feel lost or have any trouble following the story. So you should be fine if you are reading out of order like me.

Sir William of Anglesea has traveled north to Tarnwych (in the borderlands) to finally take a bride. We weren't told much about how the marriage was arranged, but the union will bring him land... and a great lot of headaches! Almost immediately following the wedding feast, William realizes that he may have bitten off more than he can chew. Not only will he have to deal with a severely neglected keep and reluctant wife, but he faces the battle of his life with a mad nun who seems to be ruling the roost. I quite liked William. I get the feeling that he was a bit of a womanizer in previous books who was not quick to act responsibly, but he was nothing like that in this book. He was quick to take action where needed, right wrongs, and take care of the people newly under his care.

Despite this being her fourth marriage, Lady Alice of Tarnwych is a sheltered and meek woman. Neglected by her father, Alice was raised by a religious zealot who failed to instill necessary life skills in her charge. Not only does Alice have adequacy issues, but she is wholly unprepared for married life. She is totally ignorant about what has been happening on her lands and in her keep, deferring to Sister Julianna to make all the decisions about running the household. I went back and forth with Alice's character... her helplessness and ignorance would drive me batty one minute, and the next I felt sorry for her and she was back in my good graces.

Sister Julianna was the crazy old crone who has taken care of Alice since she was a girl. Filled with religious fervor to a maddening degree, the Sister does not make life easy for anyone at Tarnwych. It was funny at first to see her thwart William just when he was softening Alice up for seduction... but the crazy old bat went from piously funny to spiritually scary pretty fast.

Despite Sister Julianna's meddling, William and Alice did manage to make a go of their marriage. Often it was two steps forward and one step back, but it was fun to see William coax Alice out of her shell. I am a fan of this particular trope of story, where you have veritable strangers meeting for the first time at their wedding. It's always interesting to see how they deal with the awkwardness of intimacy issues and living together when they know nothing about one another.

The secondary characters in this installment were just as engaging as the hero and heroine. I think Aonghas the Red and his sons may have been my favorite, but I also enjoyed Bea and Faye. I definitely have to go back and read their stories soon.

I received an advanced copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Jen/Bambi and Sarah Hegger at RT16

Sir Arthur's Legacy