Trapped at the Altar by Jane Feather Publication date: July 22, 2014 Publisher: Pocket Books Amazon| B&N |Goodreads
~~Reviewed by Debbie~~
The year is 1667 and the country under King Charles is in an uproar. The battle of religion is strong between the Catholic and Protestant sides. But in Daunt Valley, Somerset, the political and religious animosity between the Daunts and their enemy, Chalfont, was coming to an end. The Chalfonts were distant cousins to the Daunts who live the life of thievery, piracy and deceit. Young Ivor Chalfont was sent to live among the Daunts. There was a betrothal between Ivor, then 6 years old, and Ariadne (Ari), three years younger. As the years flow by, they became close friends, spending their days in the valley, away from all other outsiders.
17 years later, they are told it is time for them to marry. Ari believes herself in love with another, Gabriel Fawcett, a poet from outside the valley. Once the marriage is announced to happen, she is against it. Although Ivor and her have grown up together, becoming great friends, she loved Gabriel. Due to her refusal of the upcoming marriage, the Valley Council held a marriage ceremony, surprising her. Now she finds herself on the journey to London, with a husband she doesn’t want, leaving behind her beloved Gabriel. Ivor is aware of Ari’s feelings for another, but he is pleased with her as his wife since his desire was to build a marriage together.
Ari and Ivor both know why Lord Daunt has sent them to London. With the tension between the Catholic and Protestants, the country was divided. All wealthy and influential families were intermarrying, just as Ivor and Ari had. Ari was Catholic and Ivor was Protestant. That way, no matter how the country turned in their religious war, the wealth would still belong to their families and they would ensure there would be not persecution against them.
But it is no easy journey to London, enduring the weeks of travel, the different weather and the uncomfortable quarters to stay in. A hard enough journey, but they really have not worked out their marriage problems. As they journey, Ari begins to see a side of Ivor she has never noticed before. By the time they reach London, she knows she is in love Ivor. Just as they seem to be building a marriage between themselves and gaining favor with the king, problems arise. Ari sees Gabriel in the crowd and the jealousy and politic of the court start. Will Ari and Ivor stay together through it all, accomplishing their goal of bringing the favor of the King back to the Daunt family? Or will the appearance of Gabriel bring Ari the freedom she once thought she wanted with him?
I have read a lot of Jane Feather’s books and have enjoyed them. I found this book to be in a different time period than her other books I have read. That took some time for me to adjust to. I know that it was because of my expectations from her books and once I adjusted myself, I enjoyed this book. The details Jane wrote of events during this time period was wonderful. The animosity between Catholics and Protestants was well written. The patience of Ivor as he tried to understand Ari’s objection to the marriage, showed how he really cared for her. Ari at times needed to be shakened or spanked! As the book progressed, I could not put it down. Jane kept me turning the pages to see how Ari and Ivor would progress in the marriage and mission for the Daunt family.
I recommend this book if you are Jane Feather fan.
Thanks go to Pocket Books via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of a review.