BLISS - Lynsay Sands
Berkley Sensation
ISBN:  978-0-06-201961-5
June 2017 (previously published 2001)
Historical Romance

England - 1173

Lady Helen Tiernay continually writes letters to King Henry II complaining about her neighbor, Lord Holden.  In turn, Lord Holden writes the King complaining about Lady Tiernay.  Holden says she is a busy-body and sticks her nose into the business of his estate, while the Lady writes that Lord Holden is tyrannical and abusive to his people.  Henry has had enough.  He consults with his chaplain, Lord Templeton, who suggests that the King order the two combatants to marry as soon as possible.  King Henry believes that they will likely kill each other before the dawn of their first married day, but what better way stop the letters?  And so, King Henry dispatches Lord Templeton to deliver his command, first to Lady Tiernay, then to Lord Holden; see them married, and bring guaranteed proof by way of the stained bed sheet back to the King.

Lady Helen is horrified; she cannot marry, and to Holden of all people!  The man is a monster!  He throws people out of their jobs and their homes and enacts horrible punishments for slightest wrong-doing.  Helen consults her Aunt Nell, who is also of like mind, and together they devise a plan to stop the marriage.  Helen cannot refuse the King, she is only a woman after all, but if Lord Holden refuses to marry her , then maybe she can escape.

Meanwhile, Lord Hethe Holden has just returned from battle.  He has been the King's warrior for many years, ever since his young wife died in childbirth.  When Lord Templeton presents him with the sealed scroll, Hethe is troubled as he reads it.  All he knows of Lady Helen are the tales brought to him by William, as told to William by the castle chatelaine, about the goings on and many complaints brought by Lady Helen.  Hethe then dispatches letters by way of William back to the King.  Hethe knows little of the Lady Helen, and he certainly does not want to marry the woman, but if the King has ordered their alliance, he will go through with the ceremony, consummate their union, then return to battle.  Married to the Lady Helen does not mean Hethe has to live with her.

BLISS is a wonderfully funny romance about the likelihood of a marriage between two people as different as night and day, or are they?  This novel, first released in 2001, is a paperback re-release for 2017, and a novel that is sure to please everyone.  This story is chock full of vibrant characters, lots of laughter, humorous angst, and plenty of romance.

BLISS is one of the best books I have read, don't miss this dynamic story!

Diana Risso