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The Defiant Bride by Leslie Hachtel: A Book Review

The Defiant Bride
Author: Leslie Hachtel
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance
Publisher: CreateSpace
Release Date: 2015
Pages: 178
Source: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Furious at being used as a political pawn, the Lady Dariana defies King Henry VII by faking her own death to avoid marrying a man she has never met. Praying the king will not retaliate against her father, she seeks refuge in the forest and learns to fend for herself. When William, a warrior knight, is felled by an arrow, she saves his life and arranges his rescue before fleeing to avoid discovery. 

     William awakes from his injury to be told he imagined the beautiful woman in the forest. Besotted and determined to make her his own, he hunts her down and tricks her into marrying him, intent on turning her defiance into love. But even as he begins to succeed, their enemies join forces to end the marriage—even if it means that Dariana must die. 

     When Dariana is abducted, William must track her down to fight for her life and their happiness. And, Dariana, once the most defiant of brides, must channel her own strength of will into survival, both for herself—and for the child she now carries. 

      My review: When King Henry VII orders Dariana to wed a Spanish nobleman, Dariana defies the king and her father by faking her own death to avoid leaving England and marry a man she has never met. Through the help of her friend, Lady Tamara, Dariana seeks refuge in the king’s forest and learns to survive on her own. A year later, William, a knight, is wounded by an arrow near where Dariana takes refuge.  Dariana saves him but not before William has catch sight of her. When William awakes from his injury, he remembers the woman who saved him and is determined to wed her as his bride. He finds out Dariana’s true identity, kidnaps her and marries her against her will. Can Dariana learn to forgive her husband and learn to love him?

     Dariana is a strong heroine. She is smart, spirited, stubborn and passionate. She wants to live a life of her own choosing, and she is determined to do whatever she can to have it. She loves her family and her friends, which is why she faked her death so they will not be traitors to the crown once the king learns she rebelled against him. It is obvious that she is a survivor for she has learned to live on her own in a forest for a year. She has a compassionate heart, for she wants to save the injured knight, and tries her best to save him. Even though she is attracted to William, she stubbornly refuses to give in to his will because of his swift way he has handled her. Dariana was not only a challenge to William, but also to the men around her in the story. Indeed her willfulness astounds them, for they are not used to strong-willed woman, and because of it, she has earned the admiration and respect from those around her.

     William is a traditional knight. He is arrogant, and is used to having things done his way. However, he is not a man without honor. He married her swiftly to help save Dariana’s and her family’s reputation because they are traitors to the crown. He waits patiently for Dariana to love her back. It is clear that he loves Dariana and is clearly devoted to her. He also has a deep love towards his sister. His sister is his confidant, and he wants her happiness.

     The other supporting characters are well-developed, but one that strikes me is Henry VIII. I have read many books set in the Tudor era, and all that I have read do not portray Henry in a positive light. In this book, Henry is just like Theseus, the Duke of Athens in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He is young and handsome. He is a king that is loyal to his friends. He is also merciful. He is the problem-solver that gives a happy solution to William and Dariana. He is also like King Arthur, for reign seems to be portrayed as joyful and hopeful. However, the book warns us that while things may be like that for now, kings may change.

     Overall, the book is about family, love, friendship, trust, and hope. The story is filled with intrigue, romance, and suspense. The story has a bit of mystery for it has the question: who shot William and why? The romantic scenes are very repetitious and occasionally boring, but the plot moves along quickly with action-packed scenes. The heroine is definitely not a damsel in distress, and we applaud her triumph as she overcomes every obstacles. The message of this book is that love conquers all and to never give up. I recommend this story to not only fans of historical fiction or romance alike, but to anyone who is looking for a light-hearted and a fairy-tale like story with a happily ever after.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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