The Deed by Lynsay Sands

The Deed by Lynsay Sands
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (372 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

An innocent young beauty finds herself the fulcrum of a struggle for feudal power. Along with her ample dowry, Emma finds herself promised to Amaury de Aneford, a landless knight whose able sword has preserved the King’s crown-and whose rugged good looks make her heart skip a beat.

But on the wedding day, as a rival knight gallops toward the bridal chamber, Amaury will find that making love to his naive new bride will take consummate skill. For in the conjugal bed, Emma is astonished to learn there is more to a wedding night than just a sound sleep-and more to true love than she’s ever imagined.

The premise was cute but the book blurb could not do Emma’s predicament justice. It’s the prologue that sets up a reader’s understanding of the situation and conflict but it morphs into something that any historical romance fan would recognize – the quest for land and power. It can be pursued in two ways, the right way and the criminal way, and Ms. Sands does the theme justice.

Now, in the beginning, Emma seems an innocent. In fact, she is because her father and cousin sheltered her from ‘unpleasant’ things, or subjects that made them uncomfortable when asked to explain. That left Emma ill prepared for the marriage bed to the level that the poor girl was beyond naïve. Is that even possible? To be that clueless? I would say yes – mostly because women back in the day could be completely sheltered if the men in her life ordered it. Some people’s personalities would be rebellious; others turn bitter and resentful while others take a different route. The Deed was like a mashup of Cinderella and Susan Pevensie (the older sister) in The Chronicles of Narnia. Emma is kind of sweet, biddable, a hard worker and loyal to a fault, but with a spine of iron and deadly with a bow and arrow. I think that combination worked. As a matter of fact, the heroine’s complete naïvety was part of her womanly weapons that worked like magic on her growly, loud but well-put-together new husband, Amaury .

The hero, Amaury, is a soldier that earned the favor of the king. He’s been a warrior all his life so his rough, abrupt and hot-headed ways are all he’s known how to be. Emma confounded him, bemused him and put him through the wringer with emotions he’d never felt before and had no idea what to do about them. His confusion resulted in some smiles and giggles along the way. The hero was cute in his cluelessness and a source of amusement to his best friend, Blake. I liked Blake. But then again, I also liked Emma’s cousin, Rolf. He’s a good egg.

The villain of the piece, because you know there’s always a villain who conspires to take what they covet using any means possible, was believable and easy to identify early on. Even knowing that did not make the reading any less enjoyable. There were some unfortunate casualties that I felt sad about. Such are the victims of intrigue – the discovery of which causes the plot to thicken, sides be taken and plans to be made. Of course, plans go awry and that made for some exciting reading too.

Once Emma was awakened to what it means to be husband and wife, well, it was funny. The scenes were well written and sprinkled about the story in the right amounts, but it was Amaury’s confused reaction that made them humorous. He thought he knew what was proper and what was not, what was expected and what was not – boy, was he wrong. Cue giggle. Emma might have been naïve, but that sure didn’t last long. She’s a smart lady.
The Deed was wholly entertaining, enough that I read it in one day. I liked Amaury’s growth from a soldier to a duke. I liked that he had good taste in friends and Ms. Sands’ writing made it quite clear. He earned the title of duke but the best part is, he earned the love of his wife. I had sympathy for him because of his beginnings and what trials he lived through. The thing of it is, a man who has nothing knows how to cherish that very thing when he finally finds the ‘something’ he’s been searching for all his life. He may stumble because it’s so new, but that’s part of the story’s charm. It’s that joy of discovery, the wonder of love and the happiness that warms a reader from The Deed’s pages that made this book worth reading and recommending to others. I totally enjoyed myself.

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