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The Marriage Bed (Leisure historical romance) by Claudia Dain

The Marriage Bed (Leisure historical romance)
The Marriage Bed (Leisure historical romance)
Claudia Dain
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Leisure Books; November edition (November 1, 2001)
393 pages
PDF size:
1351 kb
FB2 size:
1505 kb
EPUB size:
1485 kb
When destiny brings them back together, a reluctant monk forced into marriage and a beautiful virgin, longing to fulfill the forbidden fantasies of girlhood, succumb to the mutual attraction between them during their wedding night. Reissue.

  • fire dancer
I've had the paperback version of this book for years and one of the few romances that I have read several times over the years. It offers a unique richness of characters - a strong, admirable heroine with a sense of humor and a hero strong of body, fair of face and an understanding of the power of repentance. Even after the multitude of romance novels I've consumed, this one remains unique.
  • Gardall
I'm generally a huge fan of period pieces and as a former Catholic school girl there's nothing I love more than a sexy monk. That being said, the main gentleman in this novel was completely unbearable and it basically made a rape seem acceptable which was unacceptable in my book. It's not worth the read and it was rather upsetting.
  • Manris
I dont know, the premise and taboo subject are good because I like them in some of my romance novels, but this one was a little boring in parts even though the hero was true to his time.
  • Gandree
Repetitive, pushes obvious details over and over again. Very unimaginative, the characters lack passion and its hard to show any compassion for them as well. I wanted to rip my hair out trying to readthis boring yarn! Ugh...
  • Justie
I have been a romance fan for years, with a special interest in medievals. I've experienced the typical plot devices and the "Norman cur/Saxon wench" themes which can be lots of fun, but don't necessarily stand up to the test of time. With The Holding, and now The Marriage Bed, Claudia Dain has created a new take on the medieval romance which intrigued and satisfied even this jaded reader.
Religion was a major part of life in the medieval world, yet perhaps because of the very nature of romance, it is often ignored or given only a small role to play in even well-done novels. Ms. Dain has thrown that convention on its head and given us in Richard a hero who has devoted himself to God's service and is most reluctant to give it up for marriage even to Isabel, the most winsome and lovesick (for Richard) of women. The conflict between the hero and heroine is unique in my experience -- the heroine wants the marriage and all that comes with it, including love, companionship, and yes, sex. The hero wants to do his duty and somehow figure out a way to get back to the abbey where he feels he belongs in order to atone for a long ago sin.
The struggle between them is real, and intense, and at times very amusing. Their evolution as characters and as a couple is absorbing and believable - neither starts out or ends as a perfect being. They are flawed and yet striving to be more. Their supporting cast is excellent as well, and I liked the reappearance of the men from The Holding too.
Some of the plot devices are a bit trite, and I could see certain things coming way too far in advance, but I didn't mark down the score because I'm so thrilled to see a new author in this sub-genre who takes some chances with the conventional character types. Thank you, Ms. Dain and keep them coming!!
  • Zeueli
If you missed 'The Marriage Bed' the first time around, you are in for a treat! Those of us who read Claudia Dain's medievals when they first came out were all agog for Richard. Richard really hooked me as a Claudia Dain fan for life. Richard!

Isabel is a young woman of startlingly clear focus. The object of all her desire is Richard and Richard alone. When she finds herself suddenly married to Richard, she cannot believe all her prayers have been answered. The only fly in the ointment is Richard's reluctance to turn his back on the monastery and be a real husband to his dead brother's affianced wife. Watching Isabel overcome Richard's reluctance is a nail-biting prospect. We desperately want Isabel to win him over, but we keenly feel Richard's conflict. And he is definitely conflicted. He wants Isabel in a most inappropriate and un-monk-like way, but his first allegiance has been to God and the church. Finding middle ground is a real challenge for dear Richard, but Dain helps him find it. When he does, you will cheer for Richard and Isabel just like I did!
  • Dianazius
The Marriage Bed has been in my "to be read" shelf for some time now. I kept avoiding it because I could not find much romance in the book's synopsis. The hero is a monk, living in an abbey, and even when forced into marriage by the king, wants to remain celibate. Okayyyy - that certainly sounded like a boring premise for a romance. But, I went on the favorable recommendations of many reviewers and took a dive. Was I knocked off my feet! It was "full steam ahead" from the first pages and I knew I was reading a great romantic tale.
Richard, the hero, was highly appealing despite his morose thoughts. Although we see Richard in the abbey, he never appears monkish. Oh - he wants to be a monk but he struggles daily - possibly even hourly - with lust. He's a very lusty guy, shut away in an abbey, attempting to rid himself of this blight on his soul. And the abbey has done nothing to tame his domineering personality
Isabel is the only heir to a large keep, Dornei, and her father has just died. She is betrothed to an heir of another large keep and the marriage has been arranged to align these two strong properties into one. In the opening pages, Isabel is running from Dornei to the abbey for protection. Although she is betrothed, there is more than one man who wants to lay claim to Isabel and her inheritance. The abbey allows Isabel sanctuary and sends for her betrothed only to be notified that he has died. The second son also is dead, leaving the third son as heir and the newly proclaimed future husband to Isabel. That third son is Richard. Isabel is thrilled because she has loved Richard since she was a young girl and never wanted to marry his brother. She has prayed for Richard to be her husband and has only dreamed of such a union. Now it is happening and she cannot hide her immense joy over the union.
Richard is a resident of that abbey Isabel flees to for protection. Soon after her arrival, he is notified of the death of his two older brothers and informed that he is to marry Isabel. Richard is furious and refuses to marry her. But the king's wishes for this marriage win out and Richard goes fuming into his own wedding. He believes Isabel is a spoiled young lady who has gotten her way and resents her greatly. He exhibits no feelings towards Isabel and refuses to have anything to do with her. As they ride off towards Dornei, now man and wife, Isabel remains ecstatic with her marriage and Richard only grows angrier over the union. . As soon as Richard and Isabel reach Dornei, he is immediately about the business of being lord. He is very efficient as he attends to his new duties - with the exception of the marriage bed. That is something he just doesn't want to face - yet.
The Marriage Bed is quite an unusual romance in several aspects:
- The vast majority of the story occurs over just a few days.
- There is sufficient cause behind Richard's angst to cause his actions seeking absolution. His hidden secret is not the usual unbelievable childhood with a cruel, abusive father or mother.
- Although this story occurs over just a few days, there is a tremendous amount of growth for both the hero and heroine as they deal with the truth and uncover the secrets.
- The heroine wants the marriage bed more than hero but don't let that little fact influence your choice to read this book. This is one very virile hero.
- The sincere concerns about morality play a huge part in the undercurrent of the story.
- The hero and heroine have known each other well since childhood.
- This hero was a very humble man - so much so that it made him a much stronger individual.
- Religion is a significant part of this story. Even the two experienced, strong knights who come to help guard Dornei spend time kneeling in prayer. Religion is given the proper place it truly occupied in this time in history. It is not harsh but seen as a means of desired stamina.
This book does not contain the overused plot line of a misunderstanding. The dialogue between the leads is honest although hurtful at times. They don't throw ugly words at one another. The hero may desire celibacy in the beginning but this ends up being quite a sensual book. The sensual rating is 4.25 out of 5.0 (See More About Me for rating guidelines). I loved The Marriage Bed and highly recommend it. It is only my second Dain book and I will now eagerly read more of her backlist.