Bound by Honor:  An Erotic Novel of Maid Marian by Collette Gale

Signet Eclipse

Historical Erotic

ISBN: 978-0-451-22683-9

Reviewed by Patrice F.

   

 

The Lady of Morlaix, formerly known as Maid Marian, has been sent to Prince John's Court by his mother, Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.   Marian's assignment is to report back anything treasonous to the Queen without her wayward son discovering the truth.    What she discovers is that the court is rife with political and carnal corruption.  Marian's mission becomes more difficult due to her attraction to the outlaw Robin Hood and his nemesis, the Sheriff of Nottingham.  The men distract her from her sworn duty to the Queen, while she must keep her wits to elude Prince John's lustful attentions.   When Marian is forced to participate in the prince's wicked and wanton games, she is becomes closer to the bandit and the sheriff.   As the tumultuous dance of intrigue and desire plays out, Marian must examine her own heart to make the right choice before her all secrets are revealed.

As a long time fan of Robin Hood, there was no way I could pass up a chance to read Bound by Honor.  I was awed by Collette Gale's fantastic research and characterizations.  Her writing is movie-picture perfect, depicting every scene, physical trait and nuance with razor-sharp precision and crisp detailing.

Marian is the same capable and courageous heroine from the classic, yet she is a woman whose awakening sexuality and sensual assertiveness compliments her strong persona.  More than once, Marian was an important part of a few plot twists that were all in keeping with her adventurous spirit.  Robin Hood and William de Wendeval, the Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, are placed center stage in the beginning as sunlight and shadow, hero and villain, but Ms. Gale doesn't enforce the old black and white labels.  The author blurs the lines with a liberal splash of gray, hinting at that what everyone perceives might not be the entire truth.    Robin Hood is dashing, bold and reckless, carrying all the pretension of a bad boy rock star with a taste for charitable causes.  The sheriff is painted with dark flourish and waiting in the shadows for his moment, his aura, sheer Byronic sex appeal.   Robin is cocksure, fearless and as playful as a golden retriever in contrast to Will de Wendeval's brooding pathos and sinister panther strut.   Is there any wonder that Marian had such a time deciding between them?

Prince John is true to his name and status, indulging his carnal appetites and vices while partially adhering and giving lip service to social restrictions. Dowager Queen Eleanor and King Richard are beacons to light the way out of the dark maze he's created.  One of the best aspects about this novel is those wearing the tights are not necessarily the ones to save the day.  Still, the excesses the licentious ruler employs account for a large amount of the eroticism and court intrigue.  It's also a clever way to underline the validity of the relationships while forging bonds of trust, love and intimacy between our main players.  Everything is neatly tied together with solid realism, offering a large pile of HEA sweetness.  I was swept away by this passionate (and hot!) reworking of this popular literary favorite.

     

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