The fair Lady Faye has always played the role allotted her. Yet the marriage her family wanted only brought her years of abuse and heartache. Now, finally free of her tyrannical husband, she is able to live her own life for the first time. But someone from the past has returned. Someone she has never been able to forget.
After years of servitude as a warrior for King and Country, Gregory is now free to pursue his own path: to serve God by becoming a monk. The only thing stopping him is Faye. Gregory has loved Faye since the moment he saw her. But their love was not meant to be. How can he serve God when his heart longs for her? He can neither forsake God nor the woman he loves.
When Faye’s son is kidnapped, Gregory answers her family’s call for help, only to find that even in the most dangerous of circumstances, neither can fight their forbidden attraction. An attraction that now burns brighter than ever before. And it is only a matter of time until it consumes them both.
Her mother and father were settled at table and Faye took the seat to her father’s left. As the first girl, born after Roger and William, she’d been accorded a special place in her father’s affection.
His craggy face split into a grin. “Beautiful Faye.” He kissed her cheek. “Tell me how you have been spending this day.”
She dreaded the question. He asked it every night and every night she burrowed deep for some interesting morsel that wouldn’t make her day seem as stale as old bread. “I am working on a new set of bed linens for Beatrice’s baby. As we do not know the sex of the child, I thought green was a good choice.”
“Marvelous.” Her father rubbed his hands together.
She loved him for the attempt, but honestly, the mighty Sir Arthur of Anglesea had as much interest in bedding as, well, she did.
Twined up in each other like a pair of clinging vines, Garrett and Beatrice entered the hall. Beatrice waddled under the weight of the child she carried. Garrett strutted and preened like the first man to ever conceive a child, hovering about Beatrice constantly. So in love, it made her wish for things she couldn’t have.
Nurse leant forward from beside Lady Mary. “She carries a boy, you mark my words.”
Faye itched to adjust her wimple. Nurse wore it so low and tight, it pressed her face inward and gave her the look of a spotted pudding.
“It is in the shape of the belly.” Nurse made a circle with her hands. “If it is round like that, it’s a boy. You were the same and your mother before you.”
Oh, spare her Nurse and her predictions. Both times Nurse had sworn up and down Faye bore a girl. She merely smiled at their resident oracle and accepted a goblet from a serving woman. At least the wine at Anglesea was always good.
Speaking of her confinements, Simon and Arthur should be back by now.
“Nurse, have you seen the boys?” She leant far forward to see past her father and mother. She had told Sir Arthur they should commission a curved table at Anglesea. It was one good thing she had taken from Calder Castle.
Nurse’s bodice dropped in her trencher as she replied. See there, a curved table would be a mercy to silk everywhere. “Nay.” Nurse frowned. “I thought they were with young Oliver.”
Oliver, the squire charged with watching the boys. There were so many around Anglesea, their names blurred into a crowd of eager young faces.
“Oliver missed weapons practice this evening.” William took the seat beside her.
Why he did it baffled her because Roger would only insist he move one down. Men. Oliver should not have missed practice. Everyone knew Sir Arthur ran a disciplined keep, and squires did not miss practice. Not unless there was a problem. A tendril of alarm curled in her belly.
“I saw them heading for the beech thicket.” Roger rumbled from behind. He clapped William on the shoulder, his knuckles whitening as he increased his grip.
“The beech thicket? Did you not stop them? They told me they would go to the stream at the bottom of the hill. They were to remain in sight of the keep guards.”
“I thought they had your permission.” Roger won the battle with William and wedged huge shoulders in beside her.
Roger was so thick sometimes, sitting there sipping his mead as if naught was amiss. She had told her boys right before him the thicket was not allowed, even accompanied. Her brother would be well served if she poured his mead over his thoughtless head. Roger should have stopped them. The beech thicket spread all the way to the village and the boys could be anywhere. Best she start looking. Already planning the stern word she would have with her oldest son when she found him, she got to her feet. Simon forever led the way into mischief with little Arthur at his heels. She should never have let them go this morning.
Sir Arthur rose. “Faye?”
“Forgive me.” She managed a tight smile for the table. “If you will excuse me, I will go and find my sons.”
Garrett stood. “I shall come with you.”
“I am sure there is no reason for concern.” She kept it light. Boys were boys and she did try not to coddle them, but for their bellies not to lead them to dinner was unusual.
“I will come.” Garrett motioned for Beatrice to stay. “Where would you like to begin?”
Beatrice had a treasure in her husband. Faye gave him a grateful smile as she led the way out of the hall.
Publisher and Release Date: Lyrical Press, September 2015
Time and Setting: England, 1217
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1.5
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Caz
My Lady Faye is the second book in Sarah Hegger’s Sir Arthur’s Legacy series, and it picks up the story of Faye, Countess of Calder and sister to the heroine of the first book, Sweet Bea. In that book, Faye finally finds the courage to flee her abusive husband with her two young sons, accompanied by her faithful protector, Sir Gregory. Throughout the seven years of her horrible marriage, the knight was Faye’s only true friend, the one man who knew the truth of what Faye had to endure at her husband’s hands, who offered her what comfort and solace he could and the man who was more of a father figure to her boys than their biological father ever was. It was clear, in Sweet Bea that there was something deeper than mere friendship lying between Faye and her handsome escort, but his long avowed intention to join a religious order stood between them; and having seen Faye and her boys safely returned to her father, he has left Anglesea to pursue his lifelong dream of taking holy orders.
Months later, Faye continues to feel Gregory’s absence keenly and is still angry with him for the ease with which he was able to walk away from her seemingly without regret.
Faye’s worst nightmare comes true one day when her eldest son goes missing, snatched by Calder’s men and returned to his father. She is distraught, knowing Calder to be a cruel, vengeful who will not hesitate to use the boy in order to exact his revenge upon her. Because a married woman and her children are legally her husband’s property – and because he is still looked upon warily following his participation in the barons’ rebellion against the now deceased King John – Sir Arthur’s hands are tied. He has no legal rights in the matter and cannot afford to attract the notice of the new king, and Faye is driven almost out of her mind with frustration and worry, until the arrival of the one man upon whom she has always been able to depend.
Brought from the abbey by Faye’s brother-in-law, Sir Gregory knows that his conflicting loyalties will be sorely tested by proximity to the woman he has loved for so long, but he cannot refuse to help her to get back her son. When she insists on accompanying Gregory to Calder, her father and brothers are adamant that she stay at Anglesea, but she will not be dissuaded. She and Gregory set off with Faye disguised as a boy, to make the journey back to the place she hates most in the world in order to effect the rescue.
One of the things Ms Hegger does very well in this story is to explore the nature of the conflict between Faye and Gregory, which one could almost describe as a Love Triangle. Gregory has wanted to enter the church since he was a boy, an ideal he clung to even when he was fostered out to Calder’s household in the way that boys of the nobility were at that time. He had not, however, bargained on falling in love, and given that Faye was married and there was no hope for them, he kept to his resolve to devote his life to God. Yet he is still torn between his love for his calling and his love for Faye which is, he knows, the reason he has not yet been allowed to take his final vows. He wants to help Faye in any way he can, but when thrown back into an even closer proximity to her than before, he is unable to deny the pull of the attraction between them.
Faye spends quite a lot of the story being angry because Gregory chose the church over her, which sometimes makes her seem rather selfish – but on the other hand, it’s easy to understand her feelings. The man she married turned into a monster and the only person she could rely on was the strong, taciturn knight set to guard her. When her only source of tenderness and comfort left, it’s natural that she should feel abandoned and aggrieved, but she has a habit of constantly needling Gregory that isn’t always easy to read. Fortunately, Faye is redeemed somewhat by the fact that she knows she’s being selfish and petulant, even though she can’t always help herself.
She also grows throughout the story, turning from the timid, helpless woman she had been during her marriage into one who is prepared to put up a fight for what she wants and not to be cowed by her brutal husband, even if it proves bad for her.
On the downside, the writing is a little choppy in places and there is a very modern feel to much of the dialogue, which often took me out of the story. I can’t believe, in this day and age of the internet, that non-British authors are not aware that the English slang word for posterior is “arse” and NOT “ass”. Honestly, every time I see an English heroine grabbing her lover’s ass during a love scene I wonder if there’s a donkey in bed with them! And similarly, a sentence like this:
Verily, the Abbey had not improved his conversational skills any.
– sticks out like a sore thumb and provoked simultaneous cringeing and laughter, because if you’re going to include faux-Medieval dialogue (most authors who set books in this period do, and I’m fine with it), don’t then juxtapose it with a modern-day Americanism. (In Britain, we don’t use the word “any” in that way.) We also don’t travel anywhere “a ways” and describing someone as “going spare” (i.e, freaking out) is certainly idiomatic English, but it’s a very modern expression and once again, feels very out of place. One can argue that the author should have written the book in Medieval French for authenticity, but that’s not my point and is, besides, an argument that is out of place here.
In spite of my criticisms, I did enjoy the story and am certainly not averse to reading future books in the series. Ms Hegger has a good grasp of the historical background and politics and she has penned a sweetly sensual romance between the Lady and her knight which takes serious note of the issues that lie between them. I’d certainly give the book a qualified recommendation to fans of Medieval romances, and to anyone looking for a new author to try.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born British and raised in South Africa, Sarah Hegger suffers from an incurable case of wanderlust. Her match? A hot Canadian engineer, whose marriage proposal she accepted six short weeks after they first met. Together they’ve made homes in seven different cities across three different continents (and back again once or twice). If only it made her multilingual, but the best she can manage is idiosyncratic English, fluent Afrikaans, conversant Russian, pigeon Portuguese, even worse Zulu and enough French to get herself into trouble.
Mimicking her globe-trotting adventures, Sarah’s career path began as a gainfully employed actress, drifted into public relations, settled a moment in advertising, and eventually took root in the fertile soil of her first love, writing. She also moonlights as a wife and mother. She currently lives in Draper, Utah, with her teenage daughters, two Golden Retrievers and aforementioned husband. Part footloose buccaneer, part quixotic observer of life, Sarah’s restless heart is most content when reading or writing books.
She loves to hear from readers and you can find her at any of the places below.