Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Key by Lynsay Sands

Lynsay Sands was chosen as author of the month for March over in Historical Romance Chat. As she was a completely new to me author I wasn't sure where to start, where better than in the middle of a series. Well actually, I got the second book in the series from the library by mistake, and by the time I realised someone else had the first book so I still have to wait for that one!

Iliana Wildwood would do anything to escape from the depraved baron who sought her lands - including marrying a barbarian. Fleeing to the highlands, Iliana was wedded to Duncan, laird to Dunbar Castle. Certainly, there was something about the virile warrior that made her weak in the knees - but something stank in the state of Scotland, and Iliana would not trust anyone until she'd discovered the source.

Determined therefore to resist her handsome husband, Iliana found a way to keep her secrets safe. Employing a belt of chastity, the spirited beauty managed to thwart the thane's advances. But then her husband changed his tactics and began a sensual assault that sent her intentions up in smoke. And as the air cleared, Iliana found it had been her heart she had locked away, and that this stubborn Scot had finally found...THE KEY

Whilst this book wasn't a bad read, it certainly didn't take off to any great heights, I think maybe because the basic premise was so silly that by the time the problem had been mentioned 10 times I was over it.

When Iliana first arrives at the keep of her intended, she is disappointed to see that it looks a little tumbledown. She is even more disappointed when she goes inside and see that is little better, if not worse. The rushes are dirty, the benches and tables are filthy, and everything needs a thorough scrubbing...starting with her husband. You see, Iliana's major problem is that her new husband stinks. Luckily she bought her chastity belt with her, which she dons and tells her husband that she will not take off until he has a bath. Duncan is appalled. It is June, and he still has another month until he is due to bathe, because he bathes every January and July...whether he needs it or not.

Dunbar castle had not always been let go so badly, but it was 20 years since Duncan's mother had died, and his father had paid little attention to his surroundings since then, and therefore neither did Duncan or his sister.

Iliana soon takes charge and gets the rushes changed, the food improved, arranges for all the village people to have new plaids, because they only get given one a year by Duncan, and generally begins a spring clean of the whole place, but Duncan is still resisting because he is stubborn.

So whilst the premise was unusual, it was beginning to stink itself when it was still being talked about two thirds of the way through the book, because it was still being mentioned even when there was treachery and betrayal all round.

As far as Iliana and Duncan went they were fine as hero and heroine, and there was a nice little sub romance plot between their parents late in the book! There was also a fair amount of set up done for the sequel which I believe is called The Chase, which is Duncan's sister Seonaid's story.

I actually also don't really think it mattered a great deal that this was the second in the series, as from what I can tell the only link between the two books is the messenger sent from King Henry to arrange both marriages. I could be wrong there though.

Overall, not bad, but not great either. I will read more from this author.

Rating 3.5/5


  1. I've never read any by her either although I have a few in my TBR pile. I've read good reviews on The Key, but I just have a hard time starting a book with the premise that the hero stinks. I do want to give her a try - but I think I'll start with a different one - reviews aside.

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  3. I would probably start with The Deed, just because it is the first in the series. There is a comment on Lynsay Sands website about why she chose to wrote about this



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