Thursday, July 26, 2007

Rivals for the Crown -Kathleen Givens

Rivals for the Crown
Kathleen Givens
Pocket, Aug 2007, $14.00
ISBN: 9781416509929

In 1290 Isabel de Burke and Rachel de Anjou have been best friends since they met as children. Although they vowed forever and still love one another as sisters, their friendship seems over as King Edward I decreed that all Jews must leave immediately. Rachel accompanied by her parents and sister leave England for Berwick where they buy an inn; at the same time Isabel becomes a lady-in-waiting to Queen Eleanor.

When Scotland's preadolescent queen dies while traveling to claim her throne, rivals John Balliol and Robert Bruce wage a civil war, which fits nicely into the plans of King Edward I to annex Scotland. Highlander Kieran MacDonald arrives at the de Anjou inn where he is meets and wants Rachel. However, he is fighting with Rory MacGannon to keep the English from ruling over Scotland so has no time for his heart’s desire. Soon Isabel and Rachel reunite with the former and Rory attracted to each other. The two female friends are caught in the intrigue between England and Scotland and must decide between love for the Highlanders and love for England.

RIVALS FOR THE CROWN is a stupendous complex historical romance with the focus on the era. The epic saga uses the love between Rachel and Kieran, and Isabel and Rory to showcase the impact of war and royal intrigue on individuals as the two couples must make difficult choices that mean sacrifice of something cherished (love of country vs. beloved). Few authors can rival Kathleen Givens skill of transporting her audience so much so readers will feel they are along side the key cast members as late thirteenth century Scotland and to a lesser degree England comes alive once again (see the previous tale ON A HIGHLAND SHORE) in her wonderful novel.

Harriet Klausner

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