A medieval historical romance set in the time of The Anarchy, a 12th century civil war between the Empress Matilda and Stephen of Blois to determine who had the right to rule England, Besieged and Betrothed really captures the exhaustion of England's people at the time. The heroine, Juliana, is trapped in a castle besieged by forces loyal to Matilda, under siege for four months, starving, and determined not to surrender.
The arrival of Lothar, Matilda's right-hand-man, puts paid to Juliana's plans. She cannot hold the castle against a competent commander, and she knows it; though surrender is a disaster for her, at least Lothar offers an honourable (and survivable) way out.
Jenni Fletcher obviously knows her history and has done her research; she painted an accurate picture of a castle under siege, the starvation and privations stoically endured by its inhabitants. Possibly the only thing I queried was that Stephen would probably have already given Juliana a husband to hold the castle for him, but otherwise I thought this was a really well-done tale of two people finding love under difficult circumstances in a time when the whole of England was weary of war.
Five stars for historical accuracy and a slow-burn romance I thoroughly enjoyed!
Besieged and Betrothed is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.