THE CONQUEROR by Brenda Joyce

PUBLISHER: Dell, 9/1990
GENRE: Fiction/Historical Romance
SETTING: England, 1079
SERIES: deWarenne Dynasty, #1

FROM PUBLISHER: Like a pagan god, Rolfe the relentless rode into Castle Aelfgar to claim it and the Lady Alice as his prize. Lauded for his bravery in France, in England he was the hated enemy. Once ensconced in his new domain, Rolfe became determined to tame the Saxon beauty Ceirdre, Alice's illegitimate sister, whose spirit and sensuality made him risk treason to have this woman of fire - and not Lady Alice - in his bed...

With her bronze hair and silken skin, Ceirdre seemed a wood nymph eluding the wickedly handsome knight who pursued her. Mysterious and seductive, she was no lady but a spy for the rebel cause of her noble half rothers. Refusing to bow to this arrogant warrior who ignited her forbidden passion, Ceirdre was swept into a dangerous liaison tied to the fate of England and the fate of kings....Yet with his kisses on her lips, his skillful hands on her body, she would have to struggle not to surrender to...The Conqueror.

MY THOUGHTS: I found most of the characters likeable, like Ceidre and Rolfe, Guy and some others whom I can’t think of at the moment, but I just didn’t care for Rolfe’s wife and Ceidre’s half-sister, Alice. Alice did have every right to be jealous of Ceidre but I just didn’t see how she added to the story. I’m not bothered by much in bodice rippers but I was a little disturbed by Alice liking pain, like when Rolfe smacked her and she became sexually aroused by it. I think the characters stayed true to their personalities, especially Rolfe who was a true bodice ripper alpha male. Alice is the only one who became more dangerous.

My favorite scene is right at the beginning when Rolfe encounters Ceidre for the first time. They meet in true bodice ripper fashion! That would have to be the most bodice ripper-like scene, the near-rape right at the beginning.

I thought the plotline was weak. There wasn’t much substance to it. The only interesting thing about the whole book was the hot sex scenes and man, were there plenty.

I felt sorry for Ceidre for falling for a brute like Rolfe. Near the end, after she was imprisoned for treason and found out she was pregnant, she became a bit obsessed with Rolfe, IMO. I don’t understand why she didn’t want him to know she was pregnant, since she loved him so much.

I found it really unbelievable that Ceidre and Guy never consummated their marriage. There was no reason not to. And Rolfe and Alice didn’t consummate theirs right away either. Makes no sense to me.

So, if you’re new to the ‘bodice ripper’ genre and aren’t bothered by violence in romance, by all means read this. If you don’t like to read about rape in romance novels, please skip this one completely because its got rape and other physical abuse.